Definition of cardinal number in US English:

cardinal number


  • A number denoting quantity (one, two, three, etc.), as opposed to an ordinal number (first, second, third, etc.).

    • ‘Defenders of the latter thus resorted to ad boc banishments of such propositions into the realm of meaninglessness; to assert that green is not a cardinal number, they said, is to be guilty of a ‘category mistake.’’
    • ‘Zorn made other contributions to set theory, such as his 1944 paper Idempotency of infinite cardinals in which he proved that an infinite cardinal number is equal to its square.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Mathematics is an area in which one often must master multiple, related symbol systems, such as Arabic numerals and names for ordinal and cardinal numbers.’
    • ‘So we see that the word ‘and’ never appears in the written or spoken representations of any cardinal numbers!’
    • ‘I described the U.S. incursion into Cambodia using only the cardinal numbers and the # sign.’
    • ‘Quite different properties of cardinal numbers are implied by the poem's stanza, even if qua sonnet its antecedents reach no farther back than Ted Berrigan's fourteen-line accumulations.’
    • ‘Research on the acquisition of cardinal numbers in the two languages will be discussed first, before predictions about the acquisition of ordinal numbers are described.’
    • ‘In 1885 Cantor continued to extend his theory of cardinal numbers and of order types.’
    • ‘The mistakes they make resemble closely the kinds of errors that younger English-speaking children make in the course of mastering the cardinal number names of English.’
    • ‘Three kinds of abilities were assessed: Ability to count with ordinal and cardinal numbers, ability to apply ordinal numbers to objects, and understanding of ordinal concepts.’
    • ‘Furthermore, ordinal numbers are less frequently encountered than are cardinal numbers.’
    • ‘So far we've only talked about the most basic mathematics - arithmetic and an inbuilt notion of cardinal number.’
    • ‘This pattern of language differences for ordinal numbers is reminiscent of findings for cardinal numbers in a number of ways.’
    • ‘Let us consider another simple sort of pattern, small cardinal numbers.’
    • ‘For finite sets, the cardinal numbers are the whole numbers.’
    • ‘In Chinese, ordinal names are created by adding a prefix to the cardinal number name.’
    • ‘The top panel of Figure 2 presents the median level of abstract counting with cardinal numbers, broken down by age and language.’
    • ‘Cardinal Algebras presents a study of algebras satisfying certain properties which capture the arithmetic of cardinal numbers.’
    • ‘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.’


cardinal number

/ˈkärdnəl ˈnəmbər/