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ca·​the·​dral kə-ˈthē-drəl How to pronounce cathedral (audio)
: of, relating to, or containing a cathedra
: emanating from a chair of authority
: suggestive of a cathedral
a cathedral grove of redwoods


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: a church that is the official seat of a diocesan bishop
: 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

Example Sentences

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
The cathedral-length veil, meanwhile, was her mother’s. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, 9 Jan. 2023 The mom of three also donned a cathedral-length lace veil, featuring an embroidered Virgin Mary, based on the religious iconography Barker has inked on the top of his head. Alexis Jones, Peoplemag, 15 Dec. 2022 His is the type of life that would be celebrated by raised mugs in a dockside tavern, not trumpeted in a cathedral with kings and queens in attendance. Jonathan Lee, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2022 After prayers in the cathedral, the queen’s coffin was carried from the church Tuesday in a somber, quiet moment that saw Edinburgh momentarily stand still. Megan Specia,, 13 Sep. 2022 The Russian leader took part in a religious service by himself in a Kremlin cathedral rather than attending a public Mass, and brief clips on state television showed him alongside priests, Reuters reported. Nick Parker, Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2023 North Texas Catholics gathered at the downtown Dallas cathedral for a memorial Mass where he was remembered as a leader and teacher. Dallas News, 5 Jan. 2023 The pink gold masterpiece includes 12 complications, including a cathedral minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with retrograde date, moon age and angular motion, sidereal time and sky chart. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 5 Jan. 2023 The ocean is a few miles away, and the Basilica de San Martiño de Mondoñedo, Spain’s oldest cathedral and an attraction for pilgrims walking the famed Camino de Santiago, lies in the same valley. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, 2 Jan. 2023
Already in the 1260s, Nicola Pisano depicted black Africans as camel drivers on his marble pulpit for the cathedral of Siena. Keith Christiansen, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2022 Later, as Leahy describes in his memoir, a group of senators went to Easter Sunday Mass at Saigon’s historic nineteenth-century cathedral. George Black, The New Republic, 19 Dec. 2022 In 2019, the group donated €200 million ($212 million) to help rebuild Notre Dame after a massive fire ripped through the Paris cathedral. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 14 Dec. 2022 This light blue shirt dress that Harper wore near the Noto cathedral is not only lightweight, but chic. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 12 Dec. 2022 The cathedral also holds the ashes of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter, Quintana Roo — subjects of Didion’s two great memoirs of mourning. Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2022 Professor Talalay once recalled hiding under the family’s dining room table during a 1942 German air raid as bombers attempted to destroy Exeter’s historic cathedral. Baltimore Sun, 28 Aug. 2022 The famed medieval cathedral survived, but schools, post offices, hospitals, churches, universities, newspapers, hotels, cinemas, apartment buildings, department stores were all destroyed, and 20,000 people died. Cynthia Ozick, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2022 The ruin appears to burst from the gallery floor like the cathedral of Ys, rising high toward the lofty ceiling, and disrupting the room’s placid, crystalline design. Steven Litt, cleveland, 24 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near cathedral

Cite this Entry

“Cathedral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the principal church of a district headed by a bishop

More from Merriam-Webster on cathedral

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