AskDefine | Define cardinal

Dictionary Definition

cardinal adj
1 serving as an essential component; "a cardinal rule"; "the central cause of the problem"; "an example that was fundamental to the argument"; "computers are fundamental to modern industrial structure" [syn: central, fundamental, key, primal]
2 being or denoting a numerical quantity but not order; "cardinal numbers" [ant: ordinal]


1 (Roman Catholic Church) one of a group of more than 100 prominent bishops in the Sacred College who advise the Pope and elect new Popes
2 the number of elements in a mathematical set; denotes a quantity but not the order [syn: cardinal number]
3 a variable color averaging a vivid red [syn: carmine]
4 crested thick-billed North American finch having bright red plumage in the male [syn: cardinal grosbeak, Richmondena Cardinalis, Cardinalis cardinalis, redbird]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Cardinal



From < cardinalis < cardo ('hinge') + -alis (adjectival suffix).


  • (RP): /ˈkɑː.dɪ.nəl/, /"kA:.dI.n@l/
  • (US): /ˈkɑɹdɪnəl/


  1. Of fundamental importance.
    a cardinal rule
    a cardinal direction
  2. Of or relating to the cardinal directions
    a cardinal mark
  3. Describing a number used in counting, e.g., one, two, three.
  4. Having a bright red color (from the color of Catholic cardinals cassock).


of fundamental importance
of or relating to the cardinal directions
  • Finnish: kardinaali-
describing a number that indicates quantity
having a bright red color


  1. A number indicating quantity, or the size of a set, e.g., one, two, three. (See Wikipedia article on Cardinal number.)
    The commonest numerals in Latin, as in English, are the "cardinals"...and the "ordinals"... — F. M. Wheelock, Wheelock’s Latin, 6th ed. revised (2005), p97
  2. An official in the Catholic Church, ranking only below the Pope and the patriarchs. (See Wikipedia article on Catholic cardinals.)
  3. A songbird of the finch family, Cardinalis cardinalis.
  4. Any of various related passerine birds of the family Cardinalidae. (See Wikipedia article on cardinal birds.)
  5. a bright red color
    cardinal colour:   


official in Catholic Church
  • Czech: kardinál
  • Dutch: kardinaal
  • Finnish: kardinaali
  • French: cardinal
  • German: Kardinal
  • Greek: καρδινάλιος
  • Hungarian: bíboros
  • Icelandic: kardináli
  • Italian: cardinale
  • Japanese: 枢機卿 (sūki-kyō)
  • Kurdish: kardînal, metran
  • Polish: kardynał
  • Portuguese: cardeal
  • Russian: кардинал (kardinál)
  • Slovene: kardinal
  • Spanish: cardenal
  • Vietnamese: (đức) hồng y
bird Cardinalis cardinalis
any bird in family Cardinalidae
  • Dutch: kardinaal
  • Finnish: kardinaali
  • French: cardinal
  • German: Kardinal
  • Italian: cardinale
  • Polish: kardynał
  • Portuguese: cardeal
  • Russian: кардинал (kardinál)
  • Spanish: cardenal

Extensive Definition

The word cardinal comes from the Latin cardo for "hinge" and usually refers to things of fundamental importance, as in cardinal rule or cardinal sins.
Cardinal may refer to:
Several sports teams use the name Cardinals:
People named Cardinal include:
Places named Cardinal include:
cardinal in Czech: Kardinál (rozcestník)
cardinal in Danish: Kardinal
cardinal in German: Kardinal (Begriffsklärung)
cardinal in French: Cardinal
cardinal in Hebrew: קרדינל (פירושונים)
cardinal in Dutch: Kardinaal
cardinal in Japanese: カージナルス
cardinal in Norwegian: Kardinal (andre betydninger)
cardinal in Portuguese: Cardeal (desambiguação)
cardinal in Russian: Кардинал (значения)
cardinal in Simple English: Cardinal
cardinal in Thai: คาร์ดินัล

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Gaussian integer, Grand Penitentiary, Holy Father, Titian, Titian-red, abuna, algebraic number, algorismic, algorithmic, aliquot, all-absorbing, antipope, arch, archbishop, archdeacon, archpriest, banner, bishop, bishop coadjutor, bricky, canon, capital, cardinal bishop, cardinal deacon, cardinal number, cardinal priest, carmine, carnation, carnelian, central, cerise, champion, chaplain, cherry, cherry-colored, cherry-red, chief, coadjutor, complex number, constitutive, controlling, crimson, crowning, curate, damask, dean, decimal, defective number, differential, digital, diocesan, dominant, ecclesiarch, essential, even, even number, exarch, exponential, ferruginous, fiery, figural, figurate, figurative, finite, finite number, fire-red, first, flame-colored, flame-red, flaming, focal, foremost, fraction, fractional, fundamental, glowing, great, gules, headmost, hegemonic, hierarch, high priest, highest, hot, imaginary, imaginary number, impair, important, impossible, incarmined, infinite, infinity, inflamed, infrared, integer, integral, iron-red, irrational, irrational number, key, lake-colored, laky, lateritious, leading, lobster-red, logarithmic, logometric, lurid, magisterial, main, maroon, master, metropolitan, mixed number, necessary, negative, numeral, numerary, numerative, numeric, odd, ordinal, overriding, overruling, pair, papa, paramount, patriarch, penitentiary, pivotal, polygonal number, pontiff, pope, port-wine, positive, possible, prebendary, predominant, preeminent, prelate, premier, preponderant, prevailing, primal, primary, primate, prime, prime number, principal, puce, pure imaginary, radical, ranking, rational, rational number, real, real number, reciprocal, rectangular number, rector, red, red-dyed, red-looking, reddened, reddish, reddish-amber, reddish-brown, round number, rubicund, rubiginous, rubric, rubricose, ruby, ruby-colored, ruby-red, ruddied, ruddy, rufescent, rufous, ruling, rural dean, rust, rust-red, rusty, scarlet, serial number, sovereign, special, stammel, star, stellar, subdean, submultiple, suffragan, supereminent, supreme, surd, tile-red, topflight, topmost, transcendental, transcendental number, transfinite number, uppermost, vermilion, vicar, vinaceous, vital, warm, whole number, wine, wine-colored, wine-red
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