Definition of cardinal
(Entry 1 of 2)
2 : cardinal number —usually used in plural
3a [from its color, resembling that of the cardinal's robes] : a crested finch (Cardinalis cardinalis of the family Cardinalidae) of the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada, the southwestern U.S., and Mexico to Belize which has a black face and heavy red bill in both sexes and is nearly completely red in the male
b : any of several red-headed passerine birds (genus Paroaria of the family Thraupidae) of South America and the West Indies that are grayish to blackish above with white underparts
Definition of cardinal (Entry 2 of 2)
1 : of basic importance a cardinal principle
2 : very serious or grave a cardinal sin
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
Words at Play
Ask the Editors
Ending a Sentence with a Preposition
An old-fashioned rule we can no longer put up with.
'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'?
We're intent on clearing it up
'Mispronunciations' That May Be Fine
'Mischievous,' 'nuclear,' and other words to pron...
Why Did Yankee Doodle Call a Feather 'Macaroni'?
What's with his feathered cap?