The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Cardinal \Car"di*nal\, n. [F. carinal, It. cardinale, LL.
cardinalis (ecclesi[ae] Roman[ae]). See Cardinal, a.]
1. (R. C. Ch.) One of the ecclesiastical princes who
constitute the pope's council, or the sacred college.
The clerics of the supreme Chair are called
Cardinals, as undoubtedly adhering more nearly to
the hinge by which all things are moved. --Pope Leo
Note: The cardinals are appointed by the pope. Since the time
of Sixtus V., their number can never exceed seventy
(six of episcopal rank, fifty priests, fourteen
deacons), and the number of cardinal priests and
deacons is seldom full. When the papel chair is vacant
a pope is elected by the college of cardinals from
among themselves. The cardinals take precedence of all
dignitaries except the pope. The principal parts of a
cardinal's costume are a red cassock, a rochet, a short
purple mantle, and a red hat with a small crown and
broad brim, with cords and tessels of a special pattern
hanging from it.
2. A woman's short cloak with a hood.
Where's your cardinal! Make haste. --Lloyd.
3. Mulled red wine. --Hotten.
4. the cardinal bird, also called the northern cardinal.
Cardinal bird, or Cardinal grosbeak (Zool.), an American
song bird (Cardinalis cardinalis, or Cardinalis
Virginianus), of the family Fringillid[ae], or finches
of which the male has a bright red plumage, and both sexes
have a high, pointed crest on its head; -- it is also
called the northern cardinal or eastern cardinal. The
males have loud and musical notes resembling those of a
fife. Other related species are also called cardinal
Cardinal flower (Bot.), an herbaceous plant (Lobelia
cardinalis) bearing brilliant red flowers of much beauty.
Cardinal red, a color like that of a cardinal's cassock,
hat, etc.; a bright red, darker than scarlet, and between
scarlet and crimson.