basilica

noun
ba·sil·i·ca | \bə-ˈsi-li-kə also -ˈzi- \

Definition of basilica 

1 : an oblong building ending in a semicircular apse used in ancient Rome especially for a court of justice and place of public assembly

2 : an early Christian church building consisting of nave and aisles with clerestory and a large high transept from which an apse projects

3 : a Roman Catholic church given ceremonial privileges

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Other Words from basilica

basilican \bə-ˈsi-li-kən also -ˈzi- \ adjective

Did You Know?

From their noun basileus, meaning “king,” the Greeks derived the adjective basilikos meaning “royal.” In ancient Thera there was a public building called “Basilike stoa,” or Royal portico, and it may have been the prototype of later Roman basilicas. The first of these was built in 184 ce, and by the time of Augustus, there were five basilicas in the vicinity of the forum. They were used for public assembly, transacting business, and judicial proceedings. When the first Christian churches were built, they were often modeled after the civil basilicas.

Examples of basilica in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But thousands of children pass through the Vatican walls every day, touring the Vatican Museums, attending papal audiences and Masses and visiting St. Peter's Square and basilica. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse," 1 July 2018 The basilica itself is an astonishing feat of engineering, carved 860 feet directly into the granite of the mountain. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 Arrive early to check out yard art and farm paths; one hilltop view is of Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, a basilica, 3 miles away. Mary Bergin, chicagotribune.com, "Chow down on the farm this summer at special dinners in America's Dairyland," 9 July 2018 Angélil's funeral will be held at the basilica on Friday afternoon. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "Celine Dion Stands by René Angélil's Casket for Hours at Public Memorial," 22 Jan. 2016 Over the years, thousands of war dead — Nationalists and Republicans alike — were unearthed from graves across Spain and interred — often anonymously — in the basilica, an apparent attempt to bring the nation together. James Badcock, latimes.com, "Inside the Valley of the Fallen, a search for two brothers killed in the Spanish Civil War," 10 May 2018 The climb up the scenic tower of the Catholic basilica can be challenging, but the view is worth it! Amber Storm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hiking at Holy Hill: An autumn kidventure," 9 Oct. 2017 But the basilica’s abbot stopped the preliminary work for their exhumation for nearly two years by appealing the judge’s decision, until top Catholic Church authorities ordered him earlier this year to comply with the judge’s ruling. Aritz Parra, The Seattle Times, "Spain resumes controversial exhumations near Franco’s tomb," 23 Apr. 2018 But the basilica’s abbot stopped the preliminary work for their exhumation for nearly two years by appealing the judge’s decision, until top Catholic Church authorities ordered him earlier this year to comply with the judge’s ruling. Washington Post, "Spain resumes controversial exhumations near Franco’s tomb," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'basilica.' 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 basilica

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for basilica

borrowed from Latin, borrowed from Greek basilikḗ (for basilikḕ stoá "royal stoa"), noun derivative from feminine of basilikós "of a king, royal," from basil- (base of basileús "king, prince," of pre-Greek substratal origin) + -ikos -ic entry 1

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Statistics for basilica

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for basilica

The first known use of basilica was in 1541

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More Definitions for basilica

basilica

noun

English Language Learners Definition of basilica

: a large church that has a long central part that ends in a curved wall

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More from Merriam-Webster on basilica

Spanish Central: Translation of basilica

Nglish: Translation of basilica for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about basilica

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