# Definition:Ordering/Partial vs. Total

## Definition

It is not demanded of an ordering $\preceq$, defined in its most general form on a set $S$, that *every* pair of elements of $S$ is related by $\preceq$. They may be, or they may not be, depending on the specific nature of both $S$ and $\preceq$.

If it *is* the case that $\preceq$ is a connected relation, that is, that every pair of distinct elements is related by $\preceq$, then $\preceq$ is called a total ordering.

If it is *not* the case that $\preceq$ is connected, then $\preceq$ is called a partial ordering.

Beware that some sources use the word **partial** for an ordering which **may or may not** be connected, while others insist on reserving the word **partial** for one which is specifically **not** connected.

It is wise to be certain of what is meant.

As a consequence, on $\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ we resolve any ambiguity by reserving the terms for the objects in question as follows:

**Partial ordering**: an ordering which is specifically**not**total

**Total ordering**: an ordering which is specifically**not**partial.