noun, often capitalized
mec·​ca | \ ˈme-kə How to pronounce mecca (audio) \

Definition of mecca

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a place regarded as a center for a specified group, activity, or interest a mecca for shoppers


geographical name
Mec·​ca | \ ˈme-kə How to pronounce Mecca (audio) \
variants: or Arabic Makkah \ ˈmä-​kə How to pronounce Makkah (audio) \

Definition of Mecca (Entry 2 of 2)

holy city in western Saudi Arabia population 1,294,106

Note: Mecca is the chief pilgrimage destination for Muslims and the capital of Hejaz.

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Other Words from mecca

Geographical name

Meccan \ ˈme-​kən How to pronounce Meccan (audio) \ adjective or noun

The Figurative Use of Mecca

Mecca is one of a number of place names which have taken on figurative meanings over time. This city in Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Muhammad and the site which Muslims must attempt to visit on a pilgrimage; from its role as a religious destination Mecca began to be used in the early 19th century (sometimes capitalized, and sometimes not) in a non-religious sense. Other locations (some of which are fictional) that have taken on this kind of extended meaning are Eden, Camelot, and Wall Street.

Examples of mecca in a Sentence


The valley is a mecca for wine lovers. The town has become a mecca for tourists.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The luxe shopping mecca now sports three new concepts – the Spanish MAD, Loch Bar and Ouzo Bay – that added to existing crowd pleasers (Steak 48, Le Colonial, Bisou and Toulouse) has created an exciting new restaurant row. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Ouzo Bay brings seafood thrills to River Oaks," 12 July 2019 Today, Hong Kong is a mecca for dealmakers, who flock to the financial hub from around the world for jobs and business opportunities. Time, "Why Business Has a Stake in Hong Kong's Protests," 11 July 2019 But should the Amazon professional beauty store scare beauty meccas like Sally Beauty Supply, that cater to professionals and consumers? Kate Dwyer, Fortune, "Amazon's New Store for Beauty Professionals: How Much of a Threat?," 26 June 2019 The East Valley is home of one of the world’s largest horse industries – a mecca of sorts. Tj Gibson, azcentral, "Horses and humans – 3 creative degrees you haven’t thought of," 18 June 2018 At the time the picture was taken, Times Square had not yet become the tourist mecca some now disparagingly liken to Disneyland. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Beauty queen, journalist, pioneer. The many faces of Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll.," 24 June 2019 Denver is a mecca for outdoor activity and that certainly rings true for mountain biking. Heather Balogh Rochfort, The Know, "Mountain biking trails that’ll get you home in time for dinner," 13 June 2019 Lately, the posh banking and diplomacy hub seems to be morphing into an alternative music mecca. Jharna Thakkar, National Geographic, "Geneva's hidden gems: the ultimate weekend itinerary," 30 May 2019 Whidbey, Washington Just north of Seattle, the 55-mile long Whidbey Island is an outdoorsy mecca, dotted with small towns and crisscrossed by hiking trails, surrounded by the clear, clean waters of Puget Sound. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in July," 29 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mecca.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mecca


1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mecca


Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a destination of pilgrims in the Islamic world

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Statistics for mecca

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mecca

The first known use of mecca was in 1843

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More Definitions for mecca



English Language Learners Definition of mecca

: a city in Saudi Arabia that was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the holiest city of Islam
: a place that attracts many people

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More from Merriam-Webster on mecca

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mecca

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mecca

Britannica English: Translation of mecca for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mecca

Comments on mecca

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