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There's primary, secondary, tertiary. What comes next (at "number 4")?

Sorry, I am not able to phrase this question any better, I hope it is clear from the context what I mean.

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Wouldn't it be fit question for EL&U? –  ВГДЕЖЅZЗИІКЛМНОПҀРСТȢѸФХ Feb 27 '14 at 13:56
Do you still have the link? I think that aspect is of interest for English speakers in general, not only to those who learn it. –  ВГДЕЖЅZЗИІКЛМНОПҀРСТȢѸФХ Feb 27 '14 at 15:31
I always thought it was "everyone else", "etc" or, in the words of my boss "that other stuff that we'll never actually get to." –  NotMe Feb 27 '14 at 23:22
@ChrisLively Well, yeah, it is so a lot of times. I hit upon the need for this word due to ... computer memory. You see: RAM is primary memory, hard disk is secondary memory, optical disks, USB stick, etc. is tertiary memory. Most textbooks stop at this point, but I began wondering what should cloud storage be called? It seems wrong to club it together with tertiary memory for obvious reasons, so I needed something at "no. 4". –  Happy Feb 28 '14 at 2:58

1 Answer 1

up vote 17 down vote accepted

The sequence may go on like...

primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary.

I'm not sure after tertiary, those words are commonly used though.

Source here

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Thanks. I have heard those words before, but I thought they are only used for number systems (Unary, binary, ternary, quaternary, ...). Since the first three words in the "sequence" did not match, I thought there might be a different "sequence" for this! :) –  Happy Feb 27 '14 at 11:35
and 8-based number system I would call octal, not octonary. Compare to decimal instead of denary. So Maulik's names are not used for number systems, unless I am completely misinformed. –  oerkelens Feb 27 '14 at 11:55
You are not misinformed, but you did misinterpret my comment, or rather, I did not express it properly. What I had meant was, I did guess quaternary, but then asked this question because it was already "taken" by the number systems sequence. Uhm, something like that, but question is answered now so no problems. :) –  Happy Feb 27 '14 at 12:44
Secondary is 'second to use', 'second in row' etc., while 'binary' is 'system based on 2', so the Happy's sequence is something distinct. –  ВГДЕЖЅZЗИІКЛМНОПҀРСТȢѸФХ Feb 27 '14 at 13:56
"Quaternary" is used in geology to describe a certain rock layer. See, e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary. I can't think of an example of any beyond quaternary being used. –  Jay Feb 27 '14 at 18:16

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