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Also called cardinal numeral. any of the numbers that express amount, as one, two, three, etc. (distinguished from ordinal number).
Also called potency, power. 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.
a number denoting quantity but not order in a set Sometimes shortened to cardinal
(maths, logic)

a measure of the size of a set that does not take account of the order of its members Compare natural number
a particular number having this function


1590s, “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 (adj.)).
cardinal number
A number, such as 3, 11, or 412, used in counting to indicate quantity but not order. Compare ordinal number.


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    any of the four astrological signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn, that begin at the equinoxes and solstices, thus marking the beginning of the seasons: characterized by the attribute of strong initiative.

  • Cardinal sin

    noun (theol) any of the seven deadly sins (informal) an unforgivable error or misjudgment: lack of impartiality is considered a cardinal sin in broadcasting circles Contemporary Examples I was sure the owner committed the cardinal sin of improperly storing his wine, and I smote him with all the fervor of a zealot. The Myth About […]

  • Cardinal spider

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