Ordinal Numbers

Italian ordinal numbers
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Numeri ordinali

Ordinal numbers are essential for lists: they denote the rank, position, or order of items in a group, whether that group is made up of people, objects, or things to do.

Per esempio…

Aberto è al secondo posto e Lucio al quinto.   Aberto is in second place, and Lucio is in fifth.
La prima cosa da fare è scegliere un presidente.   The first thing we need to do is choose a chairperson.

Italian ordinal numbers

  masc fem   abbreviations
first primo prima   1st
second secondo seconda   2nd
third terzo terza   3rd
fourth quarto quarta   4th
fifth quinto quinta   5th
sixth sesto sesta   6th
seventh settimo settima   7th
eighth ottavo ottava   8th
ninth nono nona   9th
tenth decimo decima   10th  10° 10ª

Starting with 11th, Italian ordinals are based on their corresponding cardinal number: drop the final vowel and add the suffix –esimo / –esima.

cardinal drop vowel add –esimo -esima
undici undic- undicesimo undicesima
ventidue ventidu- ventiduesimo ventiduesima
cento cent- centesimo centesima


Like regular Italian adjectives, masculine singular ordinal numbers end in –o and feminine singular end in –a.

In addition, all Italian ordinal numbers have masculine and feminine plural forms that end in –i and –e, respectively:

masc plural fem plural
primi prime
decimi decime
undicesimi undicesime
centesimi centesime

 If you have trouble remembering the difference between ordinal and cardinal numbers, try this mnemonic:

  • ordinals are for ordering
  • cardinals are for counting cards

 Related lessons

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Ordinal numbers in Italian