The axioms are the result of work by Thoralf Skolem in 1922, based on earlier work by Adolf Fraenkel in the same year, which was based on the axiom system put forth by Ernst Zermelo in 1908 (Zermelo set theory).

The axiom system is written in first-order logic. The axiom system has an infinite number of axioms because an axiom schema is used. An equivalent finite alternative system is given by the von Neumann-Bernays-Gödel axioms (NBG), which distinguish between classeses and sets.

The axioms of ZFC are:

- Axiom of extensionality: Two sets are the same if and only if they have the same elements.
- Axiom of empty set: There is a set with no elements. We will use {} to denote this empty set.
- Axiom of pairing: If
*x*,*y*are sets, then so is {*x*,*y*}, a set containing*x*and*y*as its only elements. - Axiom of union: For any set
*x*, there is a set*y*such that the elements of*y*are precisely the elements of the elements of*x*. - Axiom of infinity: There exists a set
*x*such that {} is in*x*and whenever*y*is in*x*, so is the union*y*∪ {*y*}. - Axiom of replacement: Given any set and any mapping, formally defined as a proposition P(
*x*,*y*) where P(*x*,*y*_{1}) and P(*x*,*y*_{2}) implies*y*_{1}=*y*_{2}, there is a set containing precisely the images of the original set's elements. (This is an axiom schema.) - Axiom of power set: Every set has a power set. That is, for any set
*x*there exists a set*y*, such that the elements of*y*are precisely the subsets of*x*. - Axiom of regularity: Every non-empty set
*x*contains some element*y*such that*x*and*y*are disjoint sets. - Axiom of choice: Any product of nonempty sets is nonempty.