Dictionary

1cardinal

noun car·di·nal \ˈkärd-nəl, ˈkär-də-\

: a priest of the Roman Catholic Church who ranks immediately below the Pope

: a common North American bird

Full Definition of CARDINAL

1
:  a high ecclesiastical official of the Roman Catholic Church who ranks next below the pope and is appointed by him to assist him as a member of the college of cardinals
2
:  cardinal number —usually used in plural
3
[from its color, resembling that of the cardinal's robes] :  a crested finch (Cardinalis cardinalis of the family Cardinalidae) of the eastern United States and adjacent Canada, the southwestern United States, and Mexico to Belize which has a black face and heavy red bill in both sexes and is nearly completely red in the male
car·di·nal·ship \-ˌship\ noun
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Examples of CARDINAL

  1. The Pope appointed two new cardinals this year.

Illustration of CARDINAL

Origin of CARDINAL

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin cardinalis, from Late Latin cardinalis, adjective
First Known Use: 12th century

Other Birds Terms

aerie, bunting, clutch, covey, hackle, ratite, rictus, ruff, skein, zygodactyl

2cardinal

adjective

: basic or most important

Full Definition of CARDINAL

1
:  of basic importance <a cardinal principle>
2
:  very serious or grave <a cardinal sin>
car·di·nal·ly adverb

Examples of CARDINAL

  1. the cardinal principles of news reporting
  2. My cardinal rule is to always be honest.

Origin of CARDINAL

Middle English, from Late Latin cardinalis, from Latin, serving as a hinge, from cardin-, cardo hinge
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of CARDINAL

essential, fundamental, vital, cardinal mean so important as to be indispensable. essential implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character <conflict is essential in drama>. fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse <fundamental principles of algebra>. vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation <cut off from vital supplies>. cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends <a cardinal rule in buying a home>.
CARDINALLY Defined for Kids

1cardinal

noun car·di·nal \ˈkärd-nəl, ˈkär-də-\

Definition of CARDINAL for Kids

1
:  a high official of the Roman Catholic Church ranking next below the pope
2
:  a bright red songbird with a crest and a whistling call

2cardinal

adjective

Definition of CARDINAL for Kids

:  of first importance :  main, principal <Arnold Jones had apparently forgotten one of the cardinal rules of survival … — Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee>

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