Difference Between Nominal and Ordinal number

In contrast to common belief, a number is more than just simply a number. There’s more to it than that since it’s intriguing and diversified.

It may be segregated into mainly 2 types: ordinal and nominal numbers. Such numbers are employed in our daily lives without our knowledge.

Nominal vs Ordinal Number

The main difference between Nominal and Ordinal numbers is that ordinal numerals are always used to demonstrate the order or rank of elements in a collection.  Nominal numerals are used to name or identify things. There’s no way to tell how many there are or how high they’re ranked.

Nominal vs Ordinal Number

Nominal numbers suggest a name for something without keeping it in a hierarchy with other numbered items or data. A “fail” or “pass” categorization for the result of every student’s examination is a very good demonstration of a nominal number.

Even if the information is restricted to counts, a nominal number gives little info regarding a set or collection of occurrences.

Ordinal numbers have some sort of order to them; they are ordered in respect to one another. Consider this scenario: you get a review from your preferred cafeteria asking for comments on the facility you got in their cafeteria.

You could rate the service value as “E” which means terrible, “D” which means below average, “C” which means average, “B” which means outstanding, and “A” which means very good.

The information gathered in this survey is a very good demonstration of the ordinal number. The given numbers have a rank or order; for example, a rank of “A” is better than a rank of “D.”

Comparison Table Between Nominal and Ordinal Number

Parameters of comparisonNominal numberOrdinal number
MeaningThe things that are differentiated by a modest identification scheme are known as nominal numbers.Ordinal numbers are statistics that are arranged in some way based on their location on a scale, and they can signify superiority.
CategorialNominal numbers are also denoted as categorical data.Ordinal variables are in between the spectrum of categorical and quantitative variables.
Quantitative valueA nominal number is one that has no numerical value.Ordinal numbers can be assigned numbers, but they cannot be used to do arithmetic.
Association to rememberThe Nominal numbers can be linked to “Name.”The Ordinal Numbers can be related to the word “Order.”
ExampleSocial security numbers, zip codes, bank codes, routing numbers, and car model numbers are all instances of nominal numbers.  Ordinal Numbers include things like the first footman, the third of October, the eighth kid in the family, and the third Saturday of the month.

What is Nominal Number?

The word nominal is derivative of the Latin term ‘nomen,’. It means name.’ A nominal number is a number that is generally used to identify anything.

Nominal numbers have no meaning in relation to amount or rank. they are only numbers with no additional information beyond object identification. It isn’t necessary to specify it on a set of objects.

A number may be applied to nominal things. Any object that is necessary for everyday life qualifies as a nominal item.

Nominal number does not generally have an inherent order. Race, for instance, is a nominal number with several classifications, but generally there is no clear method to arrange them from lowest to highest or in other words, you cannot sort them according to situation.

In mathematics, a nominal numeral is a one-to-one connection between a group of numbers and a set of objects. As a result, each item is assigned a unique identifier.

No two objects have the same identity. Nominal numbers include ZIP codes, phone numbers, and driver’s license numbers, to name a few.

What is Ordinal Number?

Any ordinal numeral generally refers to a specific position or the order of any figure in a collection. Ordinal numbers could be safely assumed to be relational.

For 2 of the proposals, natural numbers are employed. One method is to count how many items there are in a set. Another option is to provide an object’s location within an order or set.

Natural numbers are extended into ordinal numbers. Ordinal numbers are used to represent the location or rank of anything in a list. Ordinary numerals have no meaning in terms of quantity.

The 2nd word in the expression “apple, orange, banana” is “orange.”

Ordinal numbers can take three forms: spatial/chronological, precedence/effect, and Greek prefix. First, second, and third are examples of spatial/chronological concepts. 

Primary, secondary, and tertiary effects are all examples of precedence/effect. Finally, the Greek prefix, which includes words like proto-, deutero-, and trito-, is the least commonly used.

In 1870, Georg Cantor created ordinal numbers. These were created to categorize the collections of structures with a certain order and to accommodate endless sequences.

Main Differences Between Nominal and Ordinal number

  1. Within a set, nominal numbers indicate an object, person, date, or location. Ordinal numerals are figures that demonstrate the order or position of a number in a particular collection.
  2. Nominal numbers were not expressly introduced but were first used to signify data in memberships. The Ordinal numbers, on the other hand, were invented by Georg Cantor and are utilized in endless sequences.
  3. In everyday life, nominal numbers might be found. Ordinal numbers, on the other hand, maybe utilized in mathematical operations.
  4. Categorical data is another name for nominal numerals. Ordinal variables, on the other hand, are the “in-between” category and quantitative variables.
  5. A nominal number is a figure which is generally used to identify anything. The ordinal number, on the other hand, is a natural number extension.


In many business situations, having knowledge of the degree of measurement of the variables is critical. Each measuring scale gives you a different degree of information. The least degree of detail is provided by nominal scales.

Ordinal scales, on the other hand, give more information. The things which can be easily differentiated by a simple naming system are known as nominal numbers. They are non-numerical numbers, such as profession.

The nominal number just gives names to anything without giving it to a position in a hierarchy of numbered things. Ordinal numbers are those numbers that can be easily sorted into some form of order based on their location on a scale.

They might, for example, convey supremacy. Ordinal numbers, on the other hand, cannot be used for arithmetic because they only indicate sequence.


  1. http://journal.aloha.academy/index.php/aijmu/article/view/257
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.1995.80.3.843
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