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 The investigation began in November 2017, but the importance of the probe was highlighted in March 2018, when a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a chemical nerve agent in the cathedral city of Salisbury in southern England. Danica Kirka, Fortune, "Hillary Clinton Astonished Why Britain Hasn’t Released Report on Russian Influence in UK Politics," 12 Nov. 2019 On Pier 52, with the warehouse flayed open and cathedral-like with light streaming in, Matta-Clark — arrest warrant notwithstanding — had imagined a public park., "“Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect," 4 Oct. 2019 In the early 1100s the great philosopher Peter Abelard taught at Paris’s cathedral school, an institution that predated Notre Dame. National Geographic, "An 800-year history of Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral," 15 Apr. 2019 This April, YouTube software mistook a live video of the Notre Dame cathedral fire for a clip of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Los Angeles Times, "YouTube will use spotty AI to keep targeted ads off videos for kids," 4 Sep. 2019 The vaulted and cathedral ceilings provide a grand feeling throughout the estate, with high-end and designer finishes throughout. Kelli Williams, The Denver Post, "Overlooking the 11th hole of Cherry Hills Country Club, 8 Churchill Drive is the opportunity to truly have it all," 8 Aug. 2019 For her cathedral wedding the following day, Marie wore a stunning gown designed by her new sister-in-law Pauline Ducruet, who is a 2017 graduate of New York’s Parsons School of Design. Stephanie Petit,, "Monaco's Marie Chevallier Was Twinning with Her Mom and Mother-in-Law on Her Royal Wedding Day!," 31 July 2019 In Palos Park, Ill,, there is a 3,978-square foot home with cathedral ceilings, a turret and five bedrooms for $574,999. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego home price hits all-time high: $590K," 26 July 2019 Upstairs, the master has cathedral ceilings, a dressing room, and a private bath with walk-in shower, soaking tub, radiant-heat floors, and grand arched window. Jon Gorey,, "For sale: Homes with treehouses," 5 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The cathedral’s roof and spire succumbed to the flames that night and collapsed., "Alarming lead levels seen after fire at Notre Dame - The Boston Globe," 15 Sep. 2019 One possible bone of contention is the onion-domed cathedral near the Arc de Triomphe, built by Russians in 1861, where the archdiocese is based. The Economist, "Taking sides in the Orthodox Church’s battles over Russia and Ukraine," 9 Sep. 2019 La Sagrada Familia, the spectacular but still unfinished cathedral. Los Angeles Times, "Escapes: Beyond Barcelona lies the Spain you should know," 29 Aug. 2019 From Gothic cathedrals to unique signage created for present-day pilgrim hostels, see why the path has captivated walkers since the Middle Ages. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Seacrest Foundation recognizes supporters," 26 Aug. 2019 The wedding took place over two days in Monaco, with a civil ceremony on July 26, followed by a traditional ceremony at Monaco's cathedral on July 27. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Grace Kelly's Grandson Louis Ducruet Gets Married in a Two-Day Monaco Wedding," 28 July 2019 These historic and massive college football cathedrals have become a popular novelty in the summer music scene not exclusive to country acts. Michael Casagrande |,, "Why there aren’t concerts in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the brief history of shows there," 15 July 2019 Even bishops have remarkably little say in the administration of a cathedral. Rochester, The Economist, "English cathedrals attract the devout, the dotty and darker forces," 16 Aug. 2019 At any time, players can post up on the steps of a cathedral to cast spells and drink potions to strengthen their game. Lily Jackson |,, "Wizards in the Bible Belt: New game poses question of fun versus faith," 29 June 2019

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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Statistics for cathedral

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

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 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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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