or·​di·​nal | \ ˈȯrd-nəl How to pronounce ordinal (audio) , ˈȯr-də-nəl \

Definition of ordinal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized [Middle English, from Medieval Latin ordinale, from Late Latin, neuter of ordinalis] : a book of rites for the ordination of deacons, priests, and bishops
2 [Late Latin ordinalis, from ordinalis, adjective] : ordinal number



Definition of ordinal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of a specified order or rank in a series
2 : of or relating to a taxonomic order

Examples of ordinal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If there were several sisters, ordinals could be used, Claudia Tertia, Claudia Quarta, etc. National Geographic, "In ancient Rome, citizenship was the path to power," 4 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The sections are constructed of scraps and vignettes, fragmentary pieces of memory that hop around the time line, following their own ordinal logic. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "“Burn the Place” Is a Thrilling, Disquieting Memoir of Addiction and Coming of Age," 15 Oct. 2019 The second is ordinal-linguistic personification, or OLP, in which different parts of a sequence — days of the week, but also things like letters of the alphabet and months of the year — are each imbued with their own unique personalities. Cari Romm, The Cut, "I Can’t Stop Reading This Twitter Thread on People Who Literally See Time," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ordinal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ordinal


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ordinal


Late Latin ordinalis, from Latin ordin-, ordo

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Time Traveler for ordinal

Time Traveler

The first known use of ordinal was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ordinal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ordinal. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ordinal


or·​di·​nal | \ ˈȯr-də-nəl How to pronounce ordinal (audio) \

Kids Definition of ordinal

More from Merriam-Webster on ordinal

Spanish Central: Translation of ordinal

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