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., "Clinton: UK voters must see Russian influence report - The Boston Globe," 13 Nov. 2019 Just south of downtown at Believe Music Hall, lasers scatter into fractals and reflect off stained glass windows as bass reverberates from the vaulted cathedral ceiling. Katey Ceccarelli, Billboard, "Where to Dance In: Atlanta," 29 Oct. 2019 In the film, Springsteen performs in front of a live audience under the cathedral ceiling of his family’s giant old barn with a backing band and orchestra. John Carucci, Detroit Free Press, "Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Western Stars’ shows he’s the Boss of film, too," 23 Oct. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shepard's remains are held in the cathedral's West Crypt Columbarium but are not accessible to the public. Elizabeth Wolfe And Brian Ries, CNN, "Matthew Shepard will be honored with a plaque at the Washington National Cathedral," 28 Nov. 2019 My soul is dancing with joy celebrating our sacred union and our blissful magical love in the presence of this majestic cathedral. Anya Leon,, "Petra Nemcova Welcomes a Son at 34 Weeks, Shares Harrowing Story of Almost Giving Birth in Car," 27 Nov. 2019 The Botanic Garden’s display, which opens Friday, features a 100,000-light cathedral arch, giant evergreens dancing to blinking bulbs and a fire garden filled with lanterns. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "tl;dr: Thanksgiving survival tips, gift guides for exhausted shoppers and how Krampus came to America," 27 Nov. 2019 That means a remarkably quiet shutter for shooting in locations like cathedrals and the ability to sync flash with the shutter at a high speed. Tom O'brien, National Geographic, "Best new compact cameras for travelers," 24 Nov. 2019 Speakers stood in the cathedral’s pulpit and hailed the spirit of Morrison. Washington Post, "Winfrey, Coates among speakers at tribute to Toni Morrison," 22 Nov. 2019 Buttressed by repeating rock spurs, from across the fjord, Ispallen and its neighbors look like a cathedral gallery, like half a ribcage. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 Though relatively young compared with Europe’s millennium-old cathedrals and Ethiopia’s ancient rock-hewn chapels, American churches take the stage as the world’s biggest, brightest, and most resounding. National Geographic, "Divine architecture: Magnificent churches across the U.S.," 9 Nov. 2019 Adjacent to and towering over our City Hall is the San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest functioning cathedral in the United States. Patton Dodd, Twin Cities, "Patton Dodd: Cities need housing. Churches have property. Can they work something out?," 7 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for cathedral

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

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cathedral.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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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 constrict the range or activity of

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