Pronunciation: (kär'dn-l),[key] —adj. 1. of prime importance; chief; principal: of cardinal significance. 2. of the color cardinal.
—n. 1. Rom. Cath. Ch.a high ecclesiastic appointed by the pope to the College of Cardinals and ranking above every other ecclesiastic but the pope.
2. Also called cardinal grosbeak. a crested grosbeak, Cardinalis cardinalis, of North America, the male of which is bright red.
3. any of various similar birds.
4. a deep, rich red color.
5. a woman's short cloak with a hood, originally made of scarlet cloth and popularly worn in the 18th century.
6. See cardinal number.