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 My casita was spacious and airy, with cathedral ceilings and long stretches of screens that created the effect of living in a treehouse. Dallas News, "Costa Rican ecolodge is a sanctuary that reminds us why we travel in the first place," 20 Apr. 2020 An open floor plan and 13-foot cathedral ceilings in the great room allow for an abundance of light. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "This 313-Year-Old Home Built Before the Revolutionary War Is For Sale," 10 Mar. 2020 The biggest art-news story of the year was the Notre Dame cathedral fire on April 15. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art Tends for 2020: The Big Apple Is Not So Big in the Art World Anymore," 4 Jan. 2020 This is one of the Bay Area’s best getaways, where destinations include ridgetop views, wilderness canyons, a pristine stream and cathedral redwoods. Tom Stienstra,, "Sunday Getaway: Purisima Creek Redwoods," 15 Dec. 2019 The bells clank and the air crackles and the peaks look like cathedral spires. Chiara Goia, National Geographic, "Discover why this stunning region is Spain’s best-kept secret," 14 Dec. 2019 Flora gets a Cadillac education—cathedral school and unlimited grandparental attention. Madeleine Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Nell Zink’s Satire Raises the Stakes," 26 Aug. 2019 This will be the first time since the French Revolution that the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is currently undergoing a lengthy construction process, has not held a Christmas mass, cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet told the Associated Press. Joelle Goldstein,, "Notre Dame Cathedral Skipping Christmas Mass for First Time in 200 Years After Devastating Fire," 23 Dec. 2019 To get that space, Hickey designed a 20-foot-by-28-foot great room addition with cathedral ceilings., "by Elizabeth Ricketson from Libby Silvia Artstyle ties to the colors outdoors while the console’s seagrass-covered doors bring in natural texture. The Kelly Wearstler," 26 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The family room opens to the kitchen and dining room and features a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams, modern light fixtures and a stone fireplace. Dallas News, "Tradition Homes spotlights plan in award-winning Light Farms community," 1 Mar. 2020 The house features the original woodwork and moldings; fireplaces in the living and dining rooms; and a kitchen opening to a family room with a cathedral ceiling. TheWeek, "6 gorgeous homes built in the 1920s," 22 Feb. 2020 The home also has a formal living room with a two-story cathedral ceiling and painted beams, with the piano room tucked away, along with easy access to the first-floor wet bar. Emilia Benton, Houston Chronicle, "Home with guesthouse available in Hunter’s Creek Village," 7 Sep. 2019 One, built as an office, has a cathedral ceiling, a full bathroom and French doors that lead to the gardens. Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, "Vintage SoCal | This Woodland Hills house wears its Hollywood history well," 9 Aug. 2019 Coyle kept copies of the newspaper clippings, which are still in the parish records of the cathedral. al, "Priest supported closing churches during 1918 flu pandemic, lamented loss of Mass," 17 Apr. 2020 The crown used to be kept in the cathedral, but has been stored in the Louvre museum since the fire on April 15 last year. CBS News, "Coronavirus updates: U.S. death toll tops 14,000 as New York reports deadliest day," 8 Apr. 2020 Lead is ubiquitous in Paris’ 19th-century architecture — in roofs, gilded balconies, floors and terraces — and not just in its most famous cathedral. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Notre Dame fire highlights global danger of lead dust," 22 Dec. 2019 Outside, a crowd of thousands gathered in silence from as early as 6am — seven hours before the ceremony — under crisp Scandinavian skies to pay their own quiet respects, with hundreds more gathered inside the cathedral. Phil Boucher,, "Princess Martha Louise's Ex-Husband, Ari Behn, Laid to Rest in Oslo Cathedral Following Christmas Day Suicide," 3 Jan. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

4 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cathedral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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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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