Also called cardinal numeral. any of the numbers that express amount, as one, two, three, etc. (distinguished from ordinal number).
Words nearby cardinal number
Origin of cardinal number
First recorded in 1585–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for cardinal numbers
a number denoting quantity but not order in a setSometimes shortened to: cardinal
- a measure of the size of a set that does not take account of the order of its membersCompare natural number
- a particular number having this function
Compare ordinal number
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for cardinal numbers
[ kär′dn-əl ]
A number, such as 3, 11, or 412, used in counting to indicate quantity but not order. Compare ordinal number.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for cardinal numbers
Numbers that indicate the quantity of things in a group or set, but not the order or arrangement of those things. One, two, and one thousand are cardinal numbers. (Compare ordinal numbers.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.