Romanian numbers

Romanian numbers

The Romanian numbers are the system of number names used in Romanian to express counts, quantities, ranks in ordered sets, fractions, multiplication, and other information related to numbers.

In Romanian grammar, the words expressing numbers are a separate part of speech, called "numeral" (plural: "numerale"), along with nouns, verbs, etc. (Note that English numeral and Romanian "numeral" have different meanings; also, Romanian "număr" only partially overlaps in meaning with English "number".) Nevertheless, these words play the same roles in the sentence as they do in English: adjective, pronoun, noun, and occasionally others. This article focuses on the mechanism of naming numbers in Romanian and the use of the number names in sentences.

It should be noted that the symbols for numbers in Romanian texts are the same as those used in English, with the exception of using the comma as the decimal separator and the period or the space (ideally a narrow space) for grouping digits by three in large numbers. For example, in Romanian "1,5 V" means one and a half volts, and 1.000.000 or 1 000 000 means one million.

General characteristics

As in other numeral systems, the Romanian number names use a limited set of words and combining rules, which can be applied to generate the name of any number within sufficiently large limits.

The general characteristics of the number formation rules in Romanian are:
*The numeration base used is decimal.
*Word order is big-endian with the exception of numbers from 11 to 19.
*Large numbers use the long scale, unlike in English.
*Connection words are used in certain situations.
*Some number names have two gender-specific forms.

Cardinal numbers

Cardinal numbers are the words we use for counting objects or expressing quantity.

Number name for 0

The number 0 is called "zero". Like in English it requires the plural form of nouns: "zero grade" ("zero degrees", with "grade" being the plural form of "grad"). Unlike English, the reading of number/numeral 0 is always "zero" and never replaced with words like "oh", "naught", "nil", "love", etc.

Numbers from 1 to 10

The number names from 1 to 10 derive from Latin. The table below gives the cardinal numbers in Romanian and its three dialects, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian.


1. "Cincizeci" is often pronounced (but not written) "cinzeci". Similarly, "optzeci" is often pronounced "obzeci".

2. "Şaizeci" does not follow the formation rule exactly. The expected form "şasezeci" does not exist.

The other numbers between 20 and 99 are named by combining three words: the number of tens, the conjunction "şi" ("and"), and the units. For example, 42 is "patruzeci şi doi".

For those numbers whose unit figure is 1 or 2 the corresponding number name has two gender-dependent forms:

*masculine: "treizeci şi unu de bărbaţi" ("31 men"); "treizeci şi doi de bărbaţi" ("32 men");
*feminine: "treizeci şi una de femei" ("31 women"); "treizeci şi două de femei" ("32 women");
*neuter: "treizeci şi unu de grade" ("31 degrees"); "treizeci şi două de grade" ("32 degrees").

hort versions

The numbers from 20 to 99 also have an informal, simplified pronunciation: The part "zeci" shortens to "ş" IPA|/ʃ/ when the units name starts with an unvoiced consonant or a vowel. For 50 and 80 "zeci" only reduces to "zeş". When the next word starts with a voiced consonant the same rule applies except that "ş" is pronounced voiced as "j" IPA|/ʒ/. The same rule applies if the units number is 0 and if the next word is the preposition "de". Examples:

*"şaptezeci şi cinci" → "şapteşcinci" ("75");
*"cincizeci şi unu" → "cinzeşunu" ("51");
*"optzeci şi opt" → "obzeşopt" ("88");
*"treizeci şi doi" → "treijdoi" ("32");
*"douăzeci de ori" → "douăjde ori" ("20 times").

In regional speech further simplification is possible, such as "cinzeci şi" becoming "cinş". Also, the number "48", when it refers to the revolutions of 1848, is pronounced "paşopt", which also gave words like "paşoptist" (meaning "participant in the Romanian 1848 Revolution" or "supporter of its ideology").

Numbers from 100 to 999

Any given number from 100 to 999 can be named by first saying the hundreds and then, without any connecting word, the two-digit number of tens and units; for example, 365 is "trei sute şaizeci şi cinci".

Note that the word for "hundred" is "sută", and that if the number of hundreds is 2 or larger, the plural "sute" is required. The noun "sută" itself is feminine and as such the numbers 100 and 200 are "o sută" and "două sute".

In fast utterances, the numbers 500 and 800 are usually pronounced "cinsute" and "opsute", instead of the standard forms "cinci sute" and "opt sute", respectively. In writing, however, the informal variants are only used for stylistic effects.

Large numbers

The table below lists the numbers representing powers of 10 larger than 100, that have a corresponding single-word name. The word for 1000 is feminine, all the others are neuter; this is important in the number naming. In Romanian, neuter nouns behave like masculine in the singular and like feminine in the plural.

For number 1 the usual form is "o dată" ("once", "one time"). The construction "o oară" is possible, but rarely used. In the plural, the adverbial numbers are formed using the preposition "de", the cardinal number in the feminine, and the noun "ori" ("times"), which is the plural of the feminine noun "oară".

Sample sentences:

*"Am citit cartea de trei ori." ("I've read the book three times.")
*"„Poştaşul sună întotdeauna de două ori”" ("The postman always rings twice")

Approximate numbers can be used, like in the examples below.

*"Ţi-am spus de zeci de ori că nu mă interesează." ("I've told you dozens " [textually: "tens"] " of times I'm not interested.")
*"Am ascultat cîntecul acesta de sute de ori." ("I've listened to this song hundreds of times.")

Multiplicative numbers

For some numbers, special words are used to show multiplication of size, number, etc. The table below gives the most frequent such words, with their English equivalents.


Ordinal numbers in this range can be formed by modifying the corresponding cardinal number: the ending "-zece" is transformed into "-zecelea" and "-zecea" for the masculine and feminine ordinal number. Examples:

*"al unsprezecelea", "a unsprezecea" ("the 11th");
*"al doisprezecelea", "a douăsprezecea" ("the 12th"), note the gender difference "doi-", "două-";
*"al treisprezecelea", "a treisprezecea" ("the 13th"), and so on.


Ordinal numbers in this range that have the unit digit 0 are formed by replacing the ending "-zeci" of the corresponding cardinal number with "-zecilea" and "-zecea" (masculine and feminine):

*"al douăzecilea", "a douăzecea" ("the 20th");
*"al treizecilea", "a treizecea" ("the 30th"), and so on.

When the unit digit is not 0, the cardinal number is used for the tens and the ordinal number for the units. The only exception is when the unit digit is 1; in this case, instead of "primul", "prima" a different word is used: "unulea", "una". Examples:

*"al douăzeci şi unulea", "a douăzeci şi una" ("the 21st");
*"al douăzeci şi doilea", "a douăzeci şi doua" ("the 22nd");
*"al douăzeci şi treilea", "a douăzeci şi treia" ("the 23rd"), and so on.

All other numbers

The general rule for ordinal number formation is to combine the following elements:

*the possessive article "al", "a";
*the cardinal number without the last pronounced digit;
*the ordinal number corresponding to the last pronounced digit.


*101st: "al o sută unulea", "a o sută una";
*210th: "al două sute zecelea", "a două sute zecea";
*700th: "al şapte sutelea", "a şapte suta";

As seen in the last example above, the ordinal form of the plural of 100, 1000, etc is needed for this process. These forms are:

Examples with large numbers:

*1500th: "al o mie cinci sutelea", "a o mie cinci suta";
*2000th: "al două miilea", "a două mia";
*17,017th: "al şaptesprezece mii şaptesprezecilea, a şaptesprezece mii şaptesprezecea"
*20,000th: "al douăzeci de miilea", "a douăzeci de mia";
*2,000,000th: "al două milioanelea", "a două milioana";
*2,000,000,000th: "al două miliardelea", "a două miliarda";
*5,500,000,000th: "al cinci miliarde cinci sute de miloanelea, a cinci miliarde cinci sute de miloana"
*8,621,457,098th: "al opt miliarde, şase sute douăzeci şi unu de milioane, patru sute cincizeci şi şapte de mii, nouăzeci şi optulea"; "a opt miliarde, şase sute douăzeci şi una de milioane, patru sute cincizeci şi şapte de mii, nouăzeci şi opta"

Reverse order

In certain situations the word order in expressing the ordinal number. This occurs when the object is not necessarily perceived as an element in a sequence but rather as an indexed object. For example, instead of "al treilea secol" the expression "secolul al treilea" ("third century") is used. Note that the noun must have the definite article appended. Other examples:

*"etajul al cincilea" ("fifth floor");
*"partea a doua" ("second part", "part two");
*"volumul al treilea" ("third volume", "volume three");
*"grupa a patra" ("fourth group").

For simplification, often the cardinal number replaces the ordinal number, although some grammarians criticize this practice: The form "secolul douăzeci" is seen as an incorrect variant of "secolul al douăzecilea" ("20th century").

For number 1, the correct form of the ordinal number in this reverse-order construction is "întîi", in both genders: "deceniul întîi" ("first decade"), "clasa întîi" ("first grade"). For the feminine, sometimes "întîia" is used, although this is not considered correct.

The same reverse order is used when naming historical figures:

*"Carol I" (read "Carol Întîi");
*"Carol al II-lea" (read "Carol al Doilea").

As seen above, ordinal numbers are often written using Roman numerals, especially in this reverse order case. The ending specific to the ordinal numbers ("-lea", "-a") must be preserved and connected to the Roman numeral with a hyphen. Examples:

*"secolul al XIX-lea" ("19th century");
*"clasa a V-a" ("5th grade");
*"volumul I", "volumul al II-lea" ("volume I, II").


In the morphological processes described above, some pronunciation changes occur that are usually marked in writing. This section gives a few details about those pronunciation aspects not "visible" in the written form.

:"See also: Romanian phonology."

Non-syllabic "i"

The letter "i" in the word "zeci" (both as a separate word and in compounds), although thought by native speakers to indicate an independent sound, is only pronounced as a palatalization of the previous consonant. It does not form a syllable by itself: "patruzeci" ("forty") is pronounced IPA|/pa.truˈzeʧʲ/. The same applies to the last "i" in "cinci": IPA|/ʧinʧʲ/, including compounds: 15 is pronounced IPA|/ˈʧinʧʲ.spre.ze.ʧe/ and 50 is IPA|/ʧinʧʲˈzeʧʲ/.

However, in the case of ordinal numbers in the masculine form, before "-lea" the nonsylabic "i" becomes a full syllabic "i" in words like "douăzecilea" ("20th") IPA|/do.wəˈzeʧi.le̯a/ and in "cincilea" ("5th") IPA|/ˈʧin.ʧi.le̯a/.

Semivocalic "i" does not change its quality: "trei" IPA|/trej/, "treilea" IPA|/ˈtrej.le̯a/, "treia" IPA|/ˈtre.ja/.


The stress in numbers from 11 to 19 is on the units number, that is, the first element of the compund. Since in all nine cases that element has the stress on its first syllable, the compound itself will also have the stress on the first syllable. The same is valid for the informal short versions:

*"unsprezece" IPA|/ˈun.spre.ze.ʧe/, "unşpe" IPA|/ˈun.ʃpe/ (11);
*"şaptesprezece" IPA|/ˈʃap.te.spre.ze.ʧe/, "şapteşpe" IPA|/ˈʃap.teʃ.pe/ (17);

Numbers in the series 20, 30, ..., 90 have the normal stress on the element "-zeci". However, a stress shift to the first element often occurs, probably because that element carries more information:

*"treizeci" IPA|/trejˈzeʧʲ/ (30);
*"„Şaizeci? — Nu, şaptezeci!”" IPA|/ˈʃap.te.zeʧʲ/ ("Sixty? — No, seventy!")


Dates. Calendar dates in Romanian are expressed using cardinal numbers, unlike English. For example, "the 21st of April" is "21 aprilie" (read "douăzeci şi unu aprilie"). For the first day of a month the ordinal number "întîi" is often used: "1 Decembrie" (read "Întîi Decembrie"; upper case is used for names of national or international holidays). Normally the masculin form of the number is used everywhere, but when the units digit is 2, the feminine is also frequent: "2 ianuarie" can be read both "doi ianuarie" and "două ianuarie"; the same applies for days 12 and 22.

Centuries. Centuries are named using ordinal numbers in reverse order: "14th century" is "secolul al paisprezecelea" (normally written "secolul al XIV-lea"). Cardinal numbers are often used although considered incorrect: "secolul paisprezece". See above for details.

Royal titles. Ordinal numbers (in reverse word order) are used for naming ruling members of a monarchy and the Popes. For example: "Carol al II-lea", "Papa Benedict al XVI-lea". See above for details.


*In Romanian, a number like 1500 is never read in a way similar to English "fifteen hundred", but always "o mie cinci sute" ("a thousand five hundred").
*Sometimes, the numbers 100 and 1000 are spelled out as "una sută" and "una mie", instead of the usual "o sută", "o mie". This is to ensure that the number of hundreds or thousands is understood correctly, for example when writing out numbers as words, mostly in contexts dealing with money amounts, in forms, telegrams, etc. For example, the 100 lei note is marked with the text "UNA SUTĂ LEI". Such a spelling is very formal and used almost exclusively in writing.
*In poor translations from English to Romanian it is possible to find the word "billion" translated as "bilion" instead of "miliard", although the Romanian "bilion" means a number 1000 times larger (in English it corresponds to "trillion"). The reverse is also possible.
*The title of the book "Arabian Nights" is translated into Romanian as "O mie şi una de nopţi" ("One thousand and one nights"), using the conjunction "şi" although not required by the number naming rules.



* [ The Number System of Romanian]
* [ Numbers in Indo-European Languages]
* [ Detailed Romanian grammar] with a section on numerals (PDF, 183 pages, 4.6 MB)
*ro icon [ DEX online] , a collection of Romanian dictionaries.
*ro icon [ Narcisa Forăscu, "Grammar difficulties of the Romanian language"] : use the index on the left and select the terms "numerale" and "de (prepoziţie)".
* Capidan, Theodor. "Aromânii, dialectul Aromân", Academia Română, Studii şi cercetări, XX 1932.

ee also

*Names of numbers in English

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