Definition of "cardinal" [car•di•nal]

  • Of foremost importance; paramount: a cardinal rule; cardinal sins. (adjective)
  • Dark to deep or vivid red. (adjective)
  • Roman Catholic Church A high church official, ranking just below the pope, who has been appointed by a pope to membership in the College of Cardinals. (noun)
  • A dark to deep or vivid red. (noun)
  • A North American finch (Cardinalis cardinalis) having a crested head, a short thick bill, and bright red plumage in the male. (noun)
  • Any of the members of the Sacred College, ranking next after the pope, who elect the pope and act as his chief counsellors (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • A deep vivid red colour (noun)
  • A crested North American bunting, Richmondena (or Pyrrhuloxia) cardinalis, the male of which has a bright red plumage and the female a brown one (noun)
  • A fritillary butterfly, Pandoriana pandora, found in meadows of southern Europe (noun)
  • A woman's hooded shoulder cape worn in the 17th and 18th centuries (noun)
  • Fundamentally important; principal (adjective)
  • Of a deep vivid red colour (adjective)
  • Of or relating to the signs Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn (adjective)

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Use "cardinal" in a sentence
  • "By the term cardinal (Cardinalis) was originally understood every priest permanently attached to a church, every clericus, either intitulatus or incardinatus."
  • "(Land's ed. of the Opera, The Hague, 1891-93) is a study of what he termed the cardinal virtues."
  • "The Fhilofopheny in their diftribution of virtues have generally agreed upon four J which they call cardinal, becaufc all the reii: do turn upon them as upon their hinges."