ca·the·dral | \ kə-ˈthē-drəl \

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

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 Built in 1970 and situated on a 1.45-acre lot one block from Lake Michigan, the 15-room house has 4½ baths, cathedral ceilings, five fireplaces, hardwood floors and millwork. Bob Goldsborough,, "Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich buys Lake Bluff home for $1.63 million," 6 Apr. 2018 The 67-year-old ex-agent was living in Salisbury, a cathedral city 90 miles southwest of London, when he was struck down along with his daughter, Yulia, who was visiting him., "Woman exposed to same nerve agent used on ex-Russian spy in England dies; police open murder investigation," 9 July 2018 Public Landing has vertical, cathedral-like ceilings, walls fashioned from local quarried limestone, and a centerpiece bar. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Daily Southtown, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Public Landing in Lockport," 8 July 2018 Those sounds supplement the sounds of the pipes of the cathedral organ, and the combination is absolutely beautiful, especially in that space, with that acoustic. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "American Guild of Organists brings its convention to KC for the first time," 28 June 2018 The beauty closet, a serene, cathedral-like space, has floor-to-ceiling shelves labeled dark spot corrector, stretch mark reduction, skin lightener, buffing cream. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Marti Noxon Wants to Put Angry Women on TV," 15 May 2018 The Skripals were found slumped on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury on March 4. Angela Dewan, CNN, "UK doctors concerned about Skripals' long-term health after poisoning," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Located at 5501 Main at Binz/Bissonnet in the Museum District, St. Paul’s is a cathedral for Houston that embodies its diversity inspires faith and leads change for the common good of all peoples and communities. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Gospel singer Barbara Johnson Tucker and A Chosen Few to sing at St. Paul’s Methodist," 12 June 2018 Between this island and its nearest neighbor, a cathedral that housed the graves of two of Venice’s doges once stood. Patrick Rogers, Town & Country, "Exploring Venice's Exclusive Private Islands," 12 Mar. 2018 The Depression made fundraising for both the cathedral and the monument difficult. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A park on Connecticut Avenue NW has a statue of John Muhlenberg. Why?," 7 July 2018 Image Seville is more than its Holy Week and Feria celebrations, when prices go up and the lines to major sites like its famed cathedral and Royal Alcázar palace grow longer. New York Times, "36 Hours in Seville," 14 June 2018 Masonic origins date back to the guilds of stonemasons who built castles and cathedrals during the middle ages. Community Report, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty Masons hosting open house May 12," 6 May 2018 Like cathedrals and icons, these pieces are meant to speak to the viewer. Vogue, "Sunday Best: How Liturgical Silhouettes and Symbolism Have Been Interpreted by Fashion," 3 May 2018 De Mauleon stands in the city's main square, the Zocalo, in the shadow of the massive cathedral and the Baroque city hall, near the excavation that reveals part of a pre-Hispanic Aztec pyramid. Maria Teresa Hernandez, Fox News, "Reminders of centuries past emerge along Mexico City streets," 26 Mar. 2018 Despite being a dynamic financial center, Basel has less of a business-like feel than, say, Geneva—and that's partly owing to its cobblestoned, central Old Town, which has a 12th-century red sandstone cathedral and a 16th-century Town Hall. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities for Expats," 21 Mar. 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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Phrases Related to cathedral

cathedral ceiling

Statistics for cathedral

Last Updated

25 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for cathedral

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 \

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).


characteristic trappings or dress

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