Greek and Latin words for numbers
Prefixes deriving from the Greek and Latin words for numbers form part of many English words, in particular, words for units of measurement (e.g., milligram, centimetre) and for geometrical figures (e.g., hexagon, octahedron).
The following table shows the Greek and Latin words for the cardinal and ordinal numbers from 1 to 12, and for a few larger numbers (20, 100, and 1,000). A cardinal number expresses quantity - so one, two, and three are cardinal numbers - while an ordinal number expresses order - so first, second, and third, are ordinal numbers. (The word 'cardinal' means 'principal, chief, or most important': it derives from the Latin word cardo, which means 'a hinge, i.e., that on which something else depends'. The cardinal numbers are the numbers on which all other types of number (e.g., ordinal numbers, fractions) depend.)
English cardinal number | English ordinal number | Greek cardinal number | Greek ordinal number | Latin cardinal number | Latin ordinal number |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
one | first | heis (fem. mia, neut. hen) | protos | unus | primus |
two | second | duo | deuteros | duo | secundus |
three | third | treis | tritos | tres | tertius |
four | fourth | tettares | tetartos | quattuor | quartus |
five | fifth | pente | pemptos | quinque | quintus |
six | sixth | hex | hektos | sex | sextus |
seven | seventh | hepta | hebdomos | septem | septimus |
eight | eighth | okto | ogdoos | octo | octavus |
nine | ninth | ennea | enatos | novem | nonus |
ten | tenth | deka | dekatos | decem | decimus |
eleven | eleventh | hendeka | hendekatos | undecim | undecimus |
twelve | twelfth | dodeka | dodekatos | duodecim | duodecimus |
twenty | twentieth | eikosi | - | viginti | vicesimus |
hundred | hundredth | hekaton | - | centum | centesimus |
thousand | thousandth | chilioi | - | mille | millesimus |
For more see Greek or Latin numerical prefix?, Prefixes in units of measurement, Prefixes for very high numbers, and Prefixes in words for geometrical figures.