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

edifice, hall, palace, tower

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Examples of cathedral in a Sentence


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

After the service, families of the dead planned to plant an olive tree on the cathedral grounds before a national minute of silence at 4:30 p.m. The words #LondonUnited were due to be projected onto the bridge late Sunday. Jill Lawless,, "U.K. remembers London Bridge attack victims on 1st anniversary," 3 June 2018 Scattered across a forested campus between Canggu and Ubud, the open classrooms are built out of sustainably harvested bamboo bent into soaring, cathedral-like spires and designed by Hardy’s daughter Elora, founder of the architecture firm Ibuku. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Finding the Bali You Came For," 16 Nov. 2018 Meghan opted for a cathedral length veil, embroidered with the 50 flowers of the British commonwealth. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Princess Eugenie's Wedding Dress Compared to Meghan Markle's–and Kate Middleton's," 12 Oct. 2018 Some have private lanai hot tubs, and all have ocean views and cathedral ceilings. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Resorts in Hawaii: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 England is basking in unexpected World Cup success as coach Gareth Southgate is elevated to national hero status, cathedral organs belt out football anthems and the country prepares to shut down for Wednesday's semi-final. Pirate Irwin,, "Southgate, England bask in unexpected World Cup success," 8 July 2018 The cathedral stairway was brought piece by piece from England. Lauren Beale,, "Vintage SoCal: Menagerie kept La Cañada Flintridge estate a little wild," 22 June 2018 The cathedral bells would toll 27 times to mark each year of the slain officer's life. Fox News, "The Latest: Special Mass scheduled for slain officer," 26 Apr. 2018 Details include cathedral ceilings, oak floors and skylights. Lauren Beale,, "French tenor Sébastien Izambard reprises his role as seller in Malibu," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Behind the market, 70 steps lead up to two adjacent cathedrals, St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Severus Church, both of which offer a birds-eye view of the entire market and city. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Touring Germany’s Most Festive Christmas Markets," 18 Dec. 2018 The new steps are designed to match the cathedral's Romanesque Revival style. John Sowell, idahostatesman, "The steps at Boise's St. John's Cathedral lasted 2 decades. Here's what you'll see next," 30 Apr. 2018 Micro and macro collide to visceral, even wondrous effect in these large, astoundingly detailed photographs of European cathedrals and churches, most dating from the 11th to the 14th centuries. New York Times, "25 Art Exhibitions to View in NYC This Weekend," 19 Apr. 2018 The document functioned as a census, listing data that included the distance of each parish to the cathedral and the number of sacraments celebrated that year. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Since Spanish arrival here, the church has been amassing treasures," 13 Jan. 2018 Members of the Frost family took over the property and started a dry-goods store there that developed into Frost Bank, which completed its 12-story building next to the cathedral in 1922. Paula Allen, San Antonio Express-News, "Short street in downtown San Antonio has long history, honors old settlers," 17 Mar. 2018 Last year, Nardella told city workers to hose down popular tourist sites, such as the city's cathedrals, to discourage tourists from sitting and snacking, The Local reported at the time. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Tourists to Florence will now be fined for eating on the street," 6 Sep. 2018 But the home also has elements that aren’t at all nautical, such as the living room’s high cathedral ceiling and fireplace. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Nautical Homes: Indulging a Passion Without Going Overboard," 16 May 2018 Wood-beam cathedral ceilings, ornate ironwork and lancet-style windows are among the architectural details. Neal J. Leitereg,, "Beverly Hills-area mansion with ‘Real Housewives’ connection lists for $22 million," 10 May 2018

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

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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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Comments on cathedral

What made you want to look up cathedral? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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