Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: Late Latin cardinalis, from Latin cardo 'hinge' (= part that fastens something so that it can still move)

cardinal

2 adjective
     
cardinal2 [only before noun]
very important or basic:
Having clean hands is one of the cardinal rules when preparing food.
an issue of cardinal importance

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