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cardinal (adj) chief; very important.
If a thing is cardinal it is very important. Politeness is cardinal to good behavior. That is, good manners require one to be polite. The cardinal principle of good health is timely and proper food, and exercise. That is, good health is assured by taking proper food and having sufficient exercise. Mastery of communication skills is cardinal to a successful career. This means that one can be successful in their career if they are good at communication. A cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church is a priest of the highest rank. The College of Cardinals, that is, the body of all the cardinals, elects the Pope.
- A good command of vocabulary and proper organization of material are cardinal to good writing, as without them, writing can never be effective.
- The cardinal from Germany was tipped to be the next Pope and was offered the support of the majority, but he politely declined the offer.