ba·​sil·​i·​ca | \ bə-ˈsi-li-kə How to pronounce basilica (audio) 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

Other Words from basilica

basilican \ bə-​ˈsi-​li-​kən How to pronounce basilica (audio) also  -​ˈzi-​ \ adjective

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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 The basilica in L’Aquila hosts the tomb of Celestine V, a hermit pope who resigned after five months in 1294, overwhelmed by the job. Nicole Winfield, ajc, 5 June 2022 The basilica in L’Aquila hosts the tomb of Celestine V, a hermit pope who resigned after five months in 1294, overwhelmed by the job. Fox News, 5 June 2022 This basilica, located in the Fourvière district with panoramic views of Lyon, boasts elements from both Romanesque and Byzantine-style architecture, with ornate gold interiors. Lily Radziemski, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 Berg-Rafaeli said Israeli authorities have been in close contact with the churches and would revise the quota upwards next year if more doors in the basilica can be opened. Joseph Krauss, ajc, 23 Apr. 2022 In July of 2020, Erdoğan had turned what had been a basilica for over 900 years, a mosque for almost 500 and a museum in the modern era back into a mosque. New York Times, 12 May 2022 The message and blessing, given on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day, which traditionally includes pleas for peace to conflicts the world over, was delivered after the Mass on the steps of the basilica. New York Times, 17 Apr. 2022 The dome of the basilica was designed by Michelangelo, and is 400 feet tall and 138 feet in diameter. CNN, 31 Mar. 2022 Last year, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the first replica of the sacred cloak with her image in Mexico’s basilica, was taken down and stored away to deter people from congregating for the special day. Laura Rodríguez Presa,, 2 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of basilica was in 1541

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Basilica.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of basilica for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about basilica


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