Definition of ordinal in English:


Syllabification: or·di·nal
Pronunciation: /ˈôrdn-əl


  • 1 short for ordinal number.
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    • 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 , chiefly • historical A service book, especially one with the forms of service used at ordinations.
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    • 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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  • 1Of or relating to a thing’s position in a series: ordinal position of birth
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    • 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.
  • 1.1Of or relating to an ordinal number.
  • 1.2 Biology Of or relating to a taxonomic order.
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    • 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 (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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