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ordinal Line breaks: or|din¦al
Pronunciation: /ˈɔːdɪn(ə)l/

Definition of ordinal in English:


1 short for ordinal number.
Example sentences
  • In 1907 he introduced special types of ordinals in an attempt to prove Cantor's continuum hypothesis.
  • Having solved the open problem posed by Davenport on writing numbers as the sums of fifth powers, Conway began to become interested in infinite ordinals.
  • In this latter book she presented a 30 page appendix on the theory of infinite cardinals and ordinals.
2 Christian Church , historical A service book, especially one with the forms of service used at ordinations.
Example sentences
  • The report continues with a discussion of the various ministries of deacons, including the basis as expressed in the ordinal at ordination in a new trial liturgy in the Diocese of Salisbury.


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1Relating to the order of something in a series: ordinal scales
More example sentences
  • The answers were transformed to an ordinal scale with values from 0 to 6.
  • The Mann-Whitney U test is appropriate when the independent variable has two levels and the dependent variable is measured on an ordinal scale.
  • To account for this bias, we transformed the outcome variables to an ordinal scale with 5 categories.
1.1Relating to an ordinal number.
2 Biology Relating to a taxonomic order.
Example sentences
  • The present study suggests that tube-foot morphology may be useful as a taxonomic character at the ordinal level.
  • While all of the phyla but one were established during the Cambrian explosion, taxonomic increases during the Ordovician were manifest at lower taxonomic levels although ordinal level diversity doubled.
  • Mammalian phylogenetics at the ordinal level remains one of the outstanding problems in systematics because of the lack of congruence between different data sets.


Middle English (in sense 2 of the noun): the noun from medieval Latin ordinale (neuter); the adjective from late Latin ordinalis 'relating to order in a series', from Latin ordo, ordin- (see order).

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