cardinal point


: one of the four principal compass points north, south, east, and west

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Rondon’s logs from that first afternoon show that at one time or another the river’s course flowed in the direction of each of the four cardinal points of the compass. Larry Rohter, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Apr. 2023 Photo: Esa Alexander (Reuters) PublishedYesterday Countries in the four cardinal points of Africa witnessed much tumult today (March 20). Faustine Ngila, Quartz, 20 Mar. 2023 Tracts from the Middle Ages offered their own elaborations: a comet travelling west to east foretold a foreign invader; a comet appearing at a certain cardinal point meant a leader would soon die. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2023 But, for the Arensberg chronicle, the cardinal point is their friendship—the French magus and the gamier avatar of Henry James’s Daisy Miller. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2022 Even the most sober-minded Egyptologists agreed that the pyramids were aligned to the cardinal points of the compass with a precision that would be difficult to better even in modern times. Jimmy Maher, Ars Technica, 15 Mar. 2020 Archaeoastronomers — those who study how ancient people related to the sky — tell us that many of the walls and windows at Chaco are aligned with cardinal points, the sun and other stars, and the buildings functioned as an observatory and calendar. Jim Robbins, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2019 Money and mystification, not knowledge or ignorance, are its cardinal points. Longreads, 17 Sep. 2019 The arrangement of forms would also allow visitors to enter the museum from any one of the cardinal points, making the museum more accessible. Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cardinal point.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1561, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cardinal point was in 1561

Dictionary Entries Near cardinal point

Cite this Entry

“Cardinal point.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

cardinal point

: one of the four principal points of the compass: north, south, east, west

More from Merriam-Webster on cardinal point

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