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

The trail then leads inland to Rouen, where Monet produced an epic series of cathedral facade. National Geographic, "Step into Impressionist paintings on this French tour," 17 Apr. 2019 Markle’s accessories included a tiara, a cathedral length veil (which was fitting for her St. George’s Chapel royal nuptials), a bracelet, and small diamond stud earrings. Jaclyn Reiss,, "Here are photos of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress," 19 May 2018 According to various sources within the cathedral’s religious community and France’s government, many of the building’s most important artifacts have been saved. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Fashion Luxury Groups, Kering and LVMH, Pledge Combined 300 Million Euros to Repair Notre Dame," 16 Apr. 2019 Just moments after Pinault’s donation was made public, Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of rival corporation LVMH, pledged 200 million euros for the cathedral’s repair. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Fashion Luxury Groups, Kering and LVMH, Pledge Combined 300 Million Euros to Repair Notre Dame," 16 Apr. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ryan served as an auxiliary bishop in Joliet from 1981 to 1984, as the display in the cathedral sacristy informs visitors. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: A Joliet bishop engaged in sexual misconduct. The diocese still displays his picture in the cathedral.," 13 June 2019 And in April, while Notre Dame was burning, Paris' fire department used their drone to peer inside the cathedral and look for hotspots. CBS News, "How drones are playing a vital role in disaster scenarios," 7 June 2019 The Parc des Princes, one of European soccer’s great cathedrals, awaits the world’s most glamorous women’s team — and more than 40,000 fans who will join them in the City of Lights. Jonathan Tannenwald,, "Women’s World Cup 2019: Top games to watch in the group stage," 6 June 2019 An art convention awaits you in the cathedral of money: a foundation has invited the curator of the Venice Biennale, the director of New York’s PS1, a critic from Artforum, along with a few others. María Gainza, Harper's magazine, "Both Sides Now," 10 May 2019 The fire set off an alarm in the cathedral around 6:30pm Paris time, after which tourists and people in the area were quickly evacuated. Vogue, "The Fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris Is Still Burning," 15 Apr. 2019 His responsibility for the archbishop’s murder in the cathedral has never been established. Allan Massie, WSJ, "‘The Restless Kings’ Review: A Family at War With Itself," 11 Jan. 2019 The Church: Ancient evil spirits are released in a cathedral and begin to possess everyone in this stylish if sketchy 1989 Italian horror film. Chris Ball,, "Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya,' now on DVD and Blu-ray (review)," 25 Mar. 2018 Wandering-standing in the cathedral, alone with the saints, the melancholy Fortinbras is aware of their gaze, inquiring of him what happened to the past. Idra Novey, New York Times, "‘The World Goes On’ — and So Do the Sentences," 12 Jan. 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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Statistics for cathedral

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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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 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 take the place or position of

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