1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th <--What's the "th" called?

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PJ:
Hi
Rather than write "First, second, third..." we often write 1st, 2nd, 3rd... The "st/nd/rd/th" is often in superscript of course.

I'm wondering if there is a name for this use of "st/nd/rd/th" after the number?

Patrick
Brighton, England
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Don Phillipson:
[nq:1]Rather than write "First, second, third..." we often write 1st, 2nd,3rd... The "st/nd/rd/th" is often in superscript of course. I'm wondering if there is a name for this use of "st/nd/rd/th" after the number?[/nq]
It is just called a contraction, like inst.
ultimo, and other conventions of 19th
century (or earlier) business writing. Scribes
have been used to contractions since the
era before printing, when all copies had to
be written by hand.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
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andrew:
[nq:1]Hi Rather than write "First, second, third..." we often write 1st, 2nd,3rd... The "st/nd/rd/th" is often in superscript of course. I'm wondering if there is a name for this use of "st/nd/rd/th" after the number?[/nq]
I don't know if there is a name for the actual endings, but words like first, etc. are called ordinal numbers. The opposite is the cardinal numbers (one, two, etc.)
http://m-w.com/mw/table/number.htm
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