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In written languages, an ordinal indicator is a character, or group of characters, following a numeral denoting that it is an ordinal number, rather than a cardinal number. In English orthography, this corresponds to the suffixes -st, -nd, -rd, -th in written ordinals (represented either on the line 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or as superscript, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th).
|◌ª | ◌º|
(feminine | masculine)
|In Unicode||U+00AA ª FEMININE ORDINAL INDICATOR (ª)|
U+00BA º MASCULINE ORDINAL INDICATOR (º)
|Different from||U+00B0 ° DEGREE SIGN|
U+1D43 ᵃ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL A
Also commonly encountered are the superscript or superior (and often underlined) masculine ordinal indicator, , and feminine ordinal indicator, , originally from Romance and then via the cultural influence of Italian, as in 1º primo and 1ª prima. In correct typography, the ordinal indicators and should be distinguishable from other characters.
The practice of underlined (or doubly underlined) superscripted abbreviations was common in 19th-century writing (not limited to ordinal indicators in particular, and also extant in the numero sign ), and was also found in handwritten English until at least the late 19th century (e.g. first abbreviated 1st or 1 ).