Cardinal sin

(theol) any of the seven deadly sins
(informal) an unforgivable error or misjudgment: lack of impartiality is considered a cardinal sin in broadcasting circles
Contemporary Examples

I was sure the owner committed the cardinal sin of improperly storing his wine, and I smote him with all the fervor of a zealot.
The Myth About Old Wine Keith Wallace January 25, 2010

And ringing false is the cardinal sin of the Chuck Norris universe.
Chuck Norris Turns 70 Sean Macaulay December 5, 2009

Historical Examples

It is the cardinal sin against which the Society of Friends have always striven.
The Independence Day Horror at Killsbury Asenath Carver Coolidge

It was generally that way, for Step Hen forgot, which was his most cardinal sin.
The Boy Scouts Along the Susquehanna Herbert Carter

Horse stealing is the cardinal sin in the mountain desert, but Andrew felt the moment he saw her that she must be his.
Way of the Lawless Max Brand

From the foregoing estimate it may easily be gathered that imperfect technique is the cardinal sin of the average amateur poet.
Writings in the United Amateur, 1915-1922 Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Ulick was too fond of his pleasures, and girls were no doubt the stencil of his cardinal sin.
Painted Veils James Huneker

To persons deeply imbued with religious feeling, hypocrisy is the cardinal sin.
The Real Jesus of the Four Gospels J. B. Atwater

With my grandmother, to fail in the due ordering of a house was a cardinal sin.
The Dew of Their Youth S. R. Crockett

The dramatist who hangs his characters to his plot, instead of hanging his plot to his characters, is guilty of cardinal sin.
The Complete Essays of John Galsworthy John Galsworthy


a principal or prime misdeed; a serious error in judgment

He committed the cardinal sin of journalism.


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