Definition of cardinal number in English:

Share this entry

cardinal number

Pronunciation: /ˈkärdnəl ˈnəmbər/


A number denoting quantity (one, two, three, etc.), as opposed to an ordinal number (first, second, third, etc.).
Example sentences
  • The ancient Greeks had different systems for cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers so we must look carefully at what we mean by Greek number systems.
  • There is a story that it was used as prefix to a number when it was supposed to be read as a cardinal number instead of an ordinal number (#21 = read this as twenty first instead of twenty one).
  • For finite sets, the cardinal numbers are the whole numbers.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: car·di·nal num·ber

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.