Word Origin

Also called ordinal numeral. any of the numbers that express degree, quality, or position in a series, as first, second, and third (distinguished from cardinal number ). Mathematics . a symbol denoting both the cardinal number and the ordering of a given set, being identical for two ordered sets having elements that can be placed into one-to-one correspondence, the correspondence preserving the order of the elements. Show More

Origin of ordinal number First recorded in 1600–10

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British Dictionary definitions for ordinal numbers a number denoting relative position in a sequence, such as first, second, third Sometimes shortened to: ordinal logic maths a measure of not only the size of a set but also the order of its elements Show More

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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ordinal numbers in Science A number, such as 3rd, 11th, or 412th, used in counting to indicate position in a series but not quantity. Compare cardinal number .Show More

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

ordinal numbers in Culture Numbers that indicate the order or position of something in a group or set, such as first, second, or fifteenth. (Compare cardinal numbers .)

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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.