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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for cathedral

Synonyms: Noun

edifice, hall, palace, tower

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her look was complete with a dramatic cathedral length veil and a delicate wedding bouquet of orchids and lily-of-the-valley. Katie Frost, Town & Country, "Looking Back at Princess Margaret's Wedding Day," 10 Dec. 2017 The cathedral of candles melted onto the sidewalk, spreading out into red gooey puddles. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Stewards of the Blood," 23 Jan. 2018 Referencing the first Apple commercial from 1984, Grande seductively holds the weapon before throwing it up at the high cathedral ceilings, smashing the glass above. Connor Whittum, Billboard, "Ariana Grande's Epic 'God Is a Woman' Video, Decoded," 13 July 2018 Apart from the idyllic surroundings, the centerpiece of the home is the cathedral ceiling living room, which boasts a wall of windows that opens up to a deck overlooking the deep green landscape. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "18th-century mill house in lush Connecticut backwoods asks $995K," 11 July 2018 Four blue coffins — two of them regular-sized, two of them small — sat at the front of the cathedral, next to several family members who attended the service. Michael Williams,, "Dozens pay tribute to slain children at prayer service: 'Love conquers everything'," 23 June 2018 Like Markle, Haddish accessorized with a cathedral-length veil and diamond tiara. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Tiffany Haddish Wears Meghan Markle-Inspired Wedding Dress — and Messy Bun — at MTV Awards," 18 June 2018 The cathedral-length veil is a stunning 120 inches long. Meagan Fredette,, "Meghan Markle Got Her Tiara From Queen Elizabeth's Private Collection," 19 May 2018 Photos of their travels line the hallway, leading to the bedrooms, which also have cathedral ceilings. Taylor M. Riley, The Courier-Journal, "Traveling couple remodels Louisville ranch home with art and memories," 17 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.

See More

First Known Use of cathedral


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cathedral

Statistics for cathedral

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cathedral

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!