ed·​i·​fice | \ ˈe-də-fəs How to pronounce edifice (audio) \

Definition of edifice

1 : building especially : a large or massive structure
2 : a large abstract structure holds together the social edifice— R. H. Tawney

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Synonyms for edifice


cathedral, hall, palace, tower

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Examples of edifice in a Sentence

a magnificent edifice with a domed ceiling the U.S. Capitol is one of our nation's most impressive edifices

Recent Examples on the Web

Like many of the show’s intriguing sculptures, Thron’s edifice seems both brawny and precarious. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: A revelatory exhibition by D.C. artist Jonathan Monaghan," 26 July 2019 The grand edifice pockmarked by shells that formerly housed L’Orient-Le Jour, Lebanon’s French-language newspaper, is a lone reminder of the grandeur that used to prevail around the Souks. The Economist, "Beirut is still arguing over its post-war reconstruction," 11 July 2019 The graceful edifice that stands today is actually a minaret—the remains of a mosque built in 1637. David Degner, Smithsonian, "Two Tour Guides—One Israeli, One Palestinian—Offer a New Way to See the Holy Land," 9 July 2019 For 25 years, Perrone has presided over his church, known locally as Assumption Grotto, an imposing stone edifice encircled by abandoned lots in downtown Detroit. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit priest removed by archdiocese because of 'credible' sexual abuse allegation," 7 July 2019 Then came an immense rectangular bureaucratic edifice whose roof sloped up away from Mexico. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "“Just Keep Going North”," 5 July 2019 This was a good man, a brave one who proved himself solid when major edifices of the world were melting away. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "History Gives George Bush His Due," 6 Dec. 2018 The poem is shot through with bitterness about the way some tourists see his country, connecting more with its edifices than its people. David Degner, Smithsonian, "Two Tour Guides—One Israeli, One Palestinian—Offer a New Way to See the Holy Land," 9 July 2019 The 13th-century cathedral was under renovation at the time of the fire and scaffolding crisscrossed the back of the edifice where the spire was once located. NBC News, "No sign Notre Dame fire was criminal, Paris prosecutor says," 26 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'edifice.' 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 edifice

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for edifice

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin aedificium, from aedificare

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for edifice

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

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English Language Learners Definition of edifice

: a large and usually impressive building (such as a church or government building)


ed·​i·​fice | \ ˈe-də-fəs How to pronounce edifice (audio) \

Kids Definition of edifice

: a large or impressive building

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More from Merriam-Webster on edifice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for edifice

Spanish Central: Translation of edifice

Nglish: Translation of edifice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of edifice for Arabic Speakers

Comments on edifice

What made you want to look up edifice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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