adjective \kə-ˈthē-drəl\

Definition of CATHEDRAL

:  of, relating to, or containing a cathedra
:  emanating from a chair of authority
:  suggestive of a cathedral <a cathedral grove of redwoods>

First Known Use of CATHEDRAL

14th century

Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth

Rhymes with CATHEDRAL



: the main church of an area that is headed by a bishop

Full Definition of CATHEDRAL

:  a church that is the official seat of a diocesan bishop
:  something that resembles or suggests a cathedral (as in size or importance) <a cathedral of business> <the sports cathedral>

Examples of CATHEDRAL

  1. <the company didn't want just a new office building—it demanded a cathedral that proclaimed its place among the giants of finance>

Illustration of CATHEDRAL

First Known Use of CATHEDRAL


Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Church, often large and magnificent, in which a residential bishop has his official seat. Cathedrals are usually embellished versions of early Christian basilicas; their construction, on an ever-larger scale, was a major preoccupation throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Masonry vaulting replaced the earlier timber roofs, and the basilican plan grew more complex. Above the arches of the nave, and below the clerestory, was the triforium, an arcaded upper story that often contained vaulted tribune galleries open to the nave. The portion containing seats for the choir, usually east of the transept, was called the chancel. Between the chancel and the sanctuary (high altar) was the presbytery, a raised area occupied only by clergy. The chapter house, a popular feature of English cathedrals, was a chamber, typically octagonal, in which business was transacted. Small chapels, including the founder's chantry and the Lady Chapel (dedicated to the Virgin Mary) were often added. Many cathedrals of the Île-de-France region were remodeled to embody a chevet, or arc of radiating chapels, on the eastern wall, a feature reflected in England in Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral.


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