cardinal number

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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
ˈcar•di•nal ˈnum•ber, n. [countable]
  • Mathematicsany of the numbers that express amount, as one, two, three.

  • WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
    cardinal number, 
  • MathematicsAlso called cardinal numeral. any of the numbers that express amount, as one, two, three, etc. (distinguished from ordinal number).
  • MathematicsAlso called potency, power. [Math.]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.
  • Etymology:1585–95

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    cardinal number, cardinal numeral n
    1. a number denoting quantity but not order in a set
      Sometimes shortened to: cardinal

    Compare ordinal number

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