One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Subsidiary to or of lesser importance than a cardinal point, position, etc.; specifically designating the four points of the compass midway between the cardinal points, i.e. NE, SE, SW, and NW.
2Zoology and Palaeontology. Located beneath the cardinal (hinge) area of a bivalved shell.
3Embryology. Located beneath a cardinal vein; specifically designating a vein which develops ventral and parallel to the posterior cardinal vein at one stage of the embryogenesis of the posterior (inferior) vena cava in many vertebrate embryos; of or relating to this vein.
A subcardinal vein.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Gideon Harvey (c1636–?1702), physician. From sub- + cardinal.
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