What does Cardinal mean?

Definitions for Cardinal
ˈkɑr dn lcar·di·nal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Cardinal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. cardinalnoun

    (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. cardinal number, cardinalnoun

    the number of elements in a mathematical set; denotes a quantity but not the order

  3. cardinal, carminenoun

    a variable color averaging a vivid red

  4. cardinal, cardinal grosbeak, Richmondena Cardinalis, Cardinalis cardinalis, redbirdadjective

    crested thick-billed North American finch having bright red plumage in the male

  5. cardinal, central, fundamental, key, primaladjective

    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"

  6. cardinaladjective

    being or denoting a numerical quantity but not order

    "cardinal numbers"


  1. Cardinalnoun

    the cardinal bird, also called the northern cardinal.


  1. cardinalnoun

    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. cardinalnoun

    An official in the Catholic Church, ranking only below the Pope and the patriarchs. (See Wikipedia article on Catholic cardinals.)

  3. cardinalnoun

    A songbird of the finch family, Cardinalis cardinalis.

  4. cardinalnoun

    Any of various related passerine birds of the family Cardinalidae. (See Wikipedia article on cardinal birds.)

  5. cardinaladjective

    Of fundamental importance; crucial, pivotal.

  6. cardinaladjective

    Of or relating to the cardinal directions (north, south, east and west).

    a cardinal mark

  7. cardinaladjective

    Describing a "natural" number used to indicate quantity (e.g., one, two, three), as opposed to an ordinal number indicating relative position.

  8. cardinaladjective

    Having a bright red color (from the color of a Catholic cardinal's cassock).

  9. Cardinalnoun

    A player on the team "The St. Louis Cardinals".

    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

  10. Cardinalnoun

    A player on the team "Arizona Cardinals".

  11. Cardinalnoun

    A sports team or a player on a sports team at Stanford University.

  12. Cardinalnoun

    A student or player on a sports team at the University of Louisville.

  13. Etymology: From cardinal, from cardinalis, from cardo + -alis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CARDINALadjective

    Principal; chief.

    Etymology: cardinalis, Lat.

    The divisions of the year in frequent use with astronomers, according to the cardinal intersections of the zodiack; that is, the two equinoctials, and both the solstitial points. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours, b. vi. c. 3.

    His cardinal perfection was industry. Edward Hyde.

  2. Cardinalnoun

    One of the chief governours of the Romish church, by whom the pope is elected out of their own number, which contains six bishops, fifty priests, and fourteen deacons, who constitute the sacred college, and are chosen by the pope.

    A cardinal is so stiled, because serviceable to the apostolick see, as an axle or hinge on which the whole government of the church turns; or as they have, from the pope’s grant, the hinge and government of all the affairs of the Romish church. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    You hold a fair assembly;
    You are a churchman, or, I’ll tell you, cardinal,
    I should judge now unhappily. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.


  1. cardinal

    Cardinal can have various meanings depending on the context, but generally, it refers to something related to leadership, importance, or a numerical concept. Here are a few different definitions for the term: 1. As a noun, a cardinal is a high-ranking official in the Catholic Church, second in authority only to the Pope. 2. As an adjective, cardinal can describe something of fundamental importance, crucial, or central to a particular subject. 3. In mathematics, cardinal refers to a number that represents the size or quantity of elements in a specific set. 4. In ornithology, a cardinal is a type of songbird, often recognized for its bright red plumage. 5. In logic, a cardinal is a type of number used to describe the size or quantity of a set, often used to compare sets' sizes.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Cardinaladjective

    of fundamental importance; preeminent; superior; chief; principal

  2. Cardinaladjective

    one of the ecclesiastical princes who constitute the pope's council, or the sacred college

  3. Cardinaladjective

    a woman's short cloak with a hood

  4. Cardinaladjective

    mulled red wine

  5. Etymology: [L. cardinalis, fr. cardo the hinge of a door, that on which a thing turns or depends: cf. F. cardinal.]


  1. Cardinal

    A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. Cardinals are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and making themselves available individually or in groups to the pope if he requests their counsel. Most cardinals have additional duties, such as leading a diocese or archdiocese or running a department of the Roman Curia. A cardinal's other main function is electing the pope whenever, by death or resignation, the see becomes vacant. In 1059, the right of electing the pope was reserved to the principal clergy of Rome and the bishops of the seven suburbicarian sees. During the sede vacante, the period between a pope's death or resignation and the election of his successor, the day-to-day governance of the Church as a whole is in the hands of the College of Cardinals. The right to enter the conclave of cardinals who elect the pope is now limited to those who have not reached the age of 80 years by the day of the pope's death or resignation. The term cardinal at one time applied to any priest permanently assigned or incardinated to a church, or specifically to the senior priest of an important church, based on the Latin cardo, meaning "principal" or "chief". The term was applied in this sense as early as the ninth century to the priests of the tituli of the diocese of Rome. A remnant of these earlier cardinals is retained by the Church of England, where the title of "cardinal" is still held by the two senior members of the College of Minor Canons of St Paul's Cathedral.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Cardinal

    kär′din-al, adj. denoting that on which a thing hinges or depends: principal; of a deep scarlet colour, like a cardinal's cassock.—n. one of the seventy princes of the church constituting the sacred college at Rome, to whom pertains the right of electing a new pope: a short cloak, formerly worn by ladies.—ns. Car′dinalate, Car′dinalship, the office or dignity of a cardinal; Car′dinal-bird, a species of grosbeak, one of the finest song-birds of America, probably so called from its red plumage.—adv. Car′dinally, fundamentally: (Shak., Measure for Measure, II. i. 81) carnally.—Cardinal flower (see Lobelia); Cardinal numbers, numbers expressing how many; Cardinal points, the four chief points of the compass—north, south, east, and west; Cardinal virtues, justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude, so called because the whole of human nature was supposed to hinge or turn upon them—the natural as distinguished from the theological virtues. [Fr.—L. cardinaliscardo, cardinis, a hinge.]

Suggested Resources

  1. cardinal

    Song lyrics by cardinal -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by cardinal on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cardinal is ranked #7275 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Cardinal surname appeared 4,580 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 2 would have the surname Cardinal.

    91.1% or 4,175 total occurrences were White.
    3.3% or 152 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.4% or 65 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.4% or 64 total occurrences were Asian.
    1.3% or 63 total occurrences were Black.
    1.3% or 61 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

How to pronounce Cardinal?

How to say Cardinal in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Cardinal in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Cardinal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of Cardinal in a Sentence

  1. Tom McCarthy:

    There are still cases in the Church, right ? The new Pope( Francis) just appointed a tribunal with Cardinal( Sean Patrick) O’Malley out of Boston to oversee these cases but then SNAP( a victims' group) and all these different organizations are saying it’s not enough, you’ve appointed an in-house tribunal, we are not going to get justice from that, i still believe in the Catholic Church, I believe in the good they can do but they are an institution that has to sort of take responsibility for the crimes they’ve committed against their parishioners and their constituency and own it - and they are not yet.

  2. Jude Chrysantha Fernando:

    What the cardinal said was that the political leaders and some security officials had prior information about attacks, but they have not taken any action, that's why the cardinal expressed his displeasure. But he did not take any political side. What he is asking is justice for the victims.

  3. Georgia Tech.That year Booker:

    Those early years at Stanford Cardinal were the greatest gift to my life, having two years for that, becoming an A student at Stanford Cardinal and still have football and then really fall in love with what became my life's goal, which was service.

  4. Karl Rove:

    I looked over to the left and I could see the cardinal of New York standing about 30 feet away with all the religious leadership in New York, they were waving little American flags and chanting and there were openly weeping.

  5. Franz Kafka:

    Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin impatience. Because of impatience we are driven out of Paradise because of impatience we cannot return.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Cardinal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • кардинал, яркочервен, главен, чинка, яркочервен цвят, числителен, числително, основенBulgarian
  • pennañBreton
  • cardinalCatalan, Valencian
  • kardinálCzech
  • kardinalDanish
  • grundsätzlich, Kardinalrot, Grundzahl, Kardinal, Kardinalzahl, RotkardinalGerman
  • απόλυτος αριθμός, καρδινάλιοςGreek
  • cardinal, número cardinal, cardenal, cardenal rojo, cardenal comúnSpanish
  • اساسی, اصلی, اعداد اصلی, عدداصلی, کاردینالPersian
  • perusluku, kardinaalinpunainen, peri-, emä-, pää-, kardinaali, perus-, punakardinaaliFinnish
  • cardinal, rouge cardinalFrench
  • haadtelwurdWestern Frisian
  • cairdinéal, cairdinéaltaIrish
  • bíbornok, kardinális, bíborosHungarian
  • քանակական թվական, քանակականArmenian
  • cardinalInterlingua
  • kardinalIndonesian
  • kardináli, aðal-, höfuð-, hárauður, megin-, frumtala, grundvallar-Icelandic
  • numero cardinale, cardinaleItalian
  • 枢機卿, 基数, 緋色, 基本Japanese
  • kardînal, metranKurdish
  • cardinalLatin
  • KardinolLuxembourgish, Letzeburgesch
  • kardinālsLatvian
  • kardinalNorwegian
  • kardinaalrood, hoofdtelwoord, kardinaalDutch
  • kardinalNorwegian Nynorsk
  • kardinalNorwegian
  • tááʼyaʼniiltʼóshiiNavajo, Navaho
  • kardynalny, kardynał, purpurowy, purpuraPolish
  • fundamental, cardeal, [[número]] [[cardinal]], vermelho-cardeal, cardinal, principalPortuguese
  • număr cardinal, cardinalRomanian
  • главный, кардинал, количественное числительное, количественный, основнойRussian
  • kardinalSerbo-Croatian
  • kardinal, kardinalno številoSlovene
  • kardinal, kardinal-, främsta, huvudsaklig, väsentlig, avgörande, huvud-Swedish
  • kadinoliSwahili
  • кардинальнийUkrainian
  • کارڈنلUrdu
  • cốt yếu, chủ yếu, số lượng, lượng, chínhVietnamese
  • קאַרדינאַלYiddish
  • 红衣主教Chinese

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"Cardinal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Cardinal>.

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    worthy of reliance or trust
    A dependable
    B sought
    C obnoxious
    D urban

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