- Also called cardinal numeral. any of the numbers that express amount, as one, two, three, etc. (distinguished from ordinal number).
- Also called potency, power. Mathematics. a number or symbol analogous to the number of elements in a finite set, being identical for two sets that can be placed into one-to-one correspondence: The cardinal number of the set a1, a2, … an is n.
Origin of cardinal number
First recorded in 1585–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a number denoting quantity but not order in a setSometimes shortened to: cardinal
- maths logic
- 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
Word Origin and History for cardinal number
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.