One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Theology. In scholastic thought, and traditional Christian moral theology originating from this: each of the seven major categories of transgression (sometimes also called the deadly sins or cardinal sins), understood as being the root of all other sins; a sin belonging to one of these categories. Hence also: any major sin.
2Figurative or hyperbolical. A major fault or error, a ‘cardinal sin’.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Robert Crowley (d. 1588), author, Church of England clergyman, and printer. From capital + sin, after any or all of the following: post-classical Latin capitale peccatum, vitium capitale or Middle French vice capital, Anglo-Norman pecché capital.
capital sin/ˌkapɪtl ˈsɪn/
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