# Names for digits or numbers

How would you say "I write zeroes and ones" or "I need a fiver" or "the number seven" in Latin?

There are a couple of cases where in some languages one uses instead of a plain number a "name of a number". This can happen when one describes binary being composed of zeroes and ones or when referring to money of certain value. For concrete examples, the numbers one and five in Finnish and Swedish are yksi and ett, but as digits they are called ykkönen and etta. A bill worth five (viisi, fem) euros is called vitonen/viitonen and femma. (In English you can speak of a fiver, but there appears to be no "name" for the digit 1 apart from "one".) I am not sure if these numerals have a specific name, but they are distinct from the usual cardinals in some languages.

Are there such names of numbers in Latin? Should I just use cardinals for this? Digits as we know them are post-classical, but the Romans certainly had numbers. Ideas from any era are welcome.

"Fiver" was the closest analogue to what we have in Finnish and Swedish, but exactly accurate. At least all numbers 1–10 have "names" that are different from the usual cardinals, and they would be used for names of playing cards, names of coins and bills, names of numerical grades in school, names of the digits as symbols, and probably something that I forget. Perhaps most languages use just cardinals for these purposes, but in Finnish and Swedish doing so would be wrong. How about Latin? If I should use a cardinal (as I think I should), how do I do it?

If you want concrete sentences to translate, these would be illuminating:

• "If I get a three, I will win this round of poker."
• "My niece cannot write the number five."
• Hmmm... Using meme jargon, this seems to be a joke I'm too romance to understand. I don't know the answer, but I strongly suspect you'd just go with the number (pluralized if applicable/necessary) – Rafael Feb 23 at 12:24
• A fiver is a five dollar bill (or a five pound bill), not the number five. Latin uses cardinals for counting and for describing the number, if that's what you're asking. – cmw Feb 23 at 13:06
• @C.M.Weimer "Fiver" was the closest analogue to what we have in Finnish and Swedish. At least all numbers 1–10 have "names" that are different from the usual cardinals. These names would be used for names of playing cards, names of coins and bills, names of numerical grades in school, names of the digits as symbols, and probably something that I forget. Perhaps most languages use just cardinals for these purposes, but in Finnish and Swedish doing so would be wrong. The question is: What does Latin do? – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 at 13:15
• I hadn't learned that part of Swedish yet. Is it true for Sweden's Swedish, or only Finland's Swedish? Either way, it's absent in Latin (as far as I understand what you're describing). Latin would just use the cardinal for your second example. – cmw Feb 23 at 13:52
• @C.M.Weimer I think it's true in both varieties of Swedish. At least Wiktionary gives several uses for tvåa ("number 2") without any remarks on regionality. The linked other numbers are similar. And I faintly recall seeing those names of numbers used in the Swedish media. – Joonas Ilmavirta Feb 23 at 13:58