# cardinal number

## cardinal number

noun
1.
Also called cardinal numeral. any of the numbers that express amount, as one, two, three, etc. (distinguished from ordinal number ).
2.
Also called potency, Mathematics. a number or symbol analogous to the number of elements in a finite set, being identical for two sets that can be placed into one-to-one correspondence: The cardinal number of the set a1, a2, … an is n.

Origin:
1585–95

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
 cardinal number or cardinal numeral —n 1. Sometimes shortened to: cardinal a number denoting quantity but not order in a set 2. maths, logic a.  Compare natural number a measure of the size of a set that does not take account of the order of its members b.  a particular number having this function cardinal numeral or cardinal numeral —n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cardinal number
1591, "one, two, three," etc. as opposed to ordinal numbers "first, second, third," etc.; so called because they are the principal numbers and the ordinals depend on them (see cardinal).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
 cardinal number   (kär'dn-əl)  Pronunciation Key  A number, such as 3, 11, or 412, used in counting to indicate quantity but not order. Compare ordinal number.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

### cardinal number definition

The cardinality of some set.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
What turns a year into a cardinal number is when you consider how many of them there are in any given period.