As opposed to zero-based. This is in a context where index would certainly be interpreted as zero-based. Some possibilities: count, number, numbering, ordinal. But I'm not sure which of these, or another word altogether, would be the most clear.

Count also has the disadvantage of being easy to confuse with "number of entities inside or related to the referred entity" as opposed to "number of entities before the referred entity, plus one".

By way of explanation, in the following list [A, B, C, D, E], the zero-based index of C is 2, while the one-based index of C is 3.

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    What's wrong with "one-based index" ? see zero-based numbering
    – Graffito
    Jan 5, 2017 at 22:26
  • @Graffito, that would be unambiguous, but perhaps a little pedantic. I figured that in non-programming contexts there would have arisen in popular use a term to refer to the kind of indexing in popular use. Jan 5, 2017 at 22:36
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    Sequence number : A number assigned to an item to indicate its relative position in a series of related items.
    – Graffito
    Jan 5, 2017 at 22:42
  • 1
    @Graffito That appears to be an answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 5, 2017 at 23:21
  • @AndrewLeach - The OP asked for a single word!
    – Graffito
    Jan 6, 2017 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


If you want to be consistent with technical terms used in math,

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