ca·​the·​dral | \ kə-ˈthē-drəl How to pronounce cathedral (audio) \

Definition of cathedral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or containing a cathedra
2 : emanating from a chair of authority
3 : suggestive of a cathedral a cathedral grove of redwoods



Definition of cathedral (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Illustration of cathedral

Illustration of cathedral


cathedral 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for cathedral

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of cathedral in a Sentence

Noun the company didn't want just a new office building—it demanded a cathedral that proclaimed its place among the giants of finance
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective President Emmanuel Macron has vowed the cathedral will reopen in 2024. Peter Tonguette, The Christian Science Monitor, "Notre Dame cathedral survived fire, war, and Napoleon’s redecorating," 6 Oct. 2020 The crypt reopened to the public last week featuring a brand new exhibit chronicling the history of the cathedral. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Paris Reopens Notre Dame Crypt to Visitors, More Than 1 Year After Fire," 14 Sep. 2020 One historical example is Pepin the Short, Charlemagne’s father, who reportedly asked to be buried face-down in front of a cathedral in 768 as penance for his father’s sins. Andrew Curry, National Geographic, "Medieval pandemics spawned fears of the undead, burials reveal," 2 Sep. 2020 The feasibility of the cathedral and the skyscraper’s scale in the neighborhood mattered little to Wright. Anthony Alofsin, Smithsonian Magazine, "How New York Made Frank Lloyd Wright a Starchitect," 24 Feb. 2020 The home has cathedral ceilings and a fireplace in the living room; a swimming pool, a line of trees and a strip of lawn separate it from the lake. Sara Clemence, WSJ, "Lake Homes That Give ‘Après Ski’ New Meaning," 30 Sep. 2020 Additional amenities include an entry with a cathedral ceiling, wood flooring, a stone fireplace, a library with a wall of bookcases and a spacious backyard. Dallas News, "Frisco office showcases four North Texas homes," 20 Sep. 2020 The soaring cathedral vaults are also being cleared of debris by 35 specialists on ropes. Elaine Ganley, Star Tribune, "Carpenters wow public with medieval techniques at Notre Dame," 19 Sep. 2020 When it was built, the cathedral was the tallest building in Cincinnati. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, "'A great blessing': Pope names Cincinnati's St. Peter in Chains Cathedral the first basilica in archdiocese," 15 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Huether calls the airport a cathedral to transportation. Lee Davidson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Salt Lake City’s new $4.1 billion airport is now open, has a smooth takeoff," 15 Sep. 2020 The remnants from archaeological digs of Ile de la Cite, the Parisian island where the cathedral is located, are also on display. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Paris Reopens Notre Dame Crypt to Visitors, More Than 1 Year After Fire," 14 Sep. 2020 The announcement comes just months after Bocelli's moving Music for Hope Easter performance from the historic Duomo cathedral in Milan. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Andrea Bocelli Announces New Album 'Believe' & Release Date," 30 Sep. 2020 The Cologne window was commissioned by Barbara Schock-Werner, an art historian who was the cathedral’s custodian until her retirement in 2012. New York Times, "A Stained-Glass Gift, From God and Gerhard Richter," 18 Sep. 2020 Earlier this summer, the plaza in front of the cathedral reopened to the public. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Paris Carpenters Reenact Original Building of Notre Dame 800 Years Later — See Them in Action," 21 Sep. 2020 On Saturday morning, the residents of Nantes, France, awoke to a huge fire at the town’s 15th-century Gothic cathedral. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Suspected Arson at France’s Nantes Cathedral Destroys Organ, Stained Glass," 21 July 2020 In an eerie premonition, an ink and gouache drawing by François-Nicolas Chifflart shows the fire in the cathedral imagined by Victor Hugo in his novel. Elaine Sciolino, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Notre-Dame Crypt Reopens for the First Time Since the Fire," 9 Sep. 2020 In a separate project earlier this year a wall made from skulls and bones, believed to be nearly 500 years old, was found near a cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. James Rogers, Fox News, "Workers make 'astonishing' discovery: Heart of 19th-century mayor found in fountain," 2 Sep. 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for cathedral

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The first known use of cathedral was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cathedral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for cathedral



English Language Learners Definition of cathedral

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


ca·​the·​dral | \ kə-ˈthē-drəl How to pronounce cathedral (audio) \

Kids Definition of cathedral

: the principal church of a district headed by a bishop

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