## Dumb Question

Miscellaneous Other Topics.
mikespeir
Junior Lexiterian
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:26 pm

### Dumb Question

At least I feel dumb having to ask it.

In a series such as

Item A,
Item B,
Item C,
Item D,
...

what is the term for the A, B, C, D, and so on? Is there such a term?

Slava
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5312
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY
First off, welcome to the Agora. Here's hoping you like it here and post regularly.

Second, as they say, there's no such thing as a dumb question. So, to that end, I'm proposing the simple ordinals (first, second, third, fourth, etc.) as the names you're looking for.

This works for two examples of lists: when you already have the list, and when you know the order in which the list must be. If the list is random, and you're looking for "that which must come first," I admit to being at a loss.

I wonder if perhaps this kind of listing terminology might exist in engineering or construction. Or even film-making, or such things.

I'm still voting for the ordinals, though.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

mikespeir
Junior Lexiterian
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:26 pm
Thanks, Slava. Actually, I kind-of lean toward "ordinal" myself. It's just that so far I haven't been able to find an example of the word being used in quite that way. Still, it does make sense. Like you, I'm thinking there must be a term proprietary to some specialized field. But if I can't find one, I'll probably go with "ordinal."

Thanks again.

Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2049
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas
First, second, third, fourth, etc are counting number ordinals. Cardinals are the numbers taken as values without any order. The set {17, 1, 53, 11} is a set of cardinals. It might be some kind of seqence but I didn't have a sequence in mind. The set {!, 5, 9, 13, etc} is a sequence created by adding 4 to each number to get the succeeding number. With a fifty year old MS in mathematics, I am pretty sure of that. I never heard the word ordinal as any other designation, especially as in an alphabetical sequence. It could be. Ordinal has other, unrelated, definitions.
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