ed·​i·​fice | \ˈe-də-fəs \

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


building, structure

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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

Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a security contractor whose job is to oversee the safety of the world’s tallest skyscraper, a Hong Kong edifice that’s 3,500 ft. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Dwayne Johnson Scales New Heights in Skyscraper," 12 July 2018 Many are striking edifices in Athens’ old commercial center, whole sections of which were killed by unchecked immigration, riots and Greece’s financial crisis that spawned wastelands of empty, shuttered shops. Washington Post, "AP PHOTOS: Life, and value, for derelict Greek properties," 10 July 2018 In February, my attention was drawn to Building 191, a shotgun-style edifice slated for demolition at the east end of Liberty Station. Logan Jenkins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cliff-hanger update: 3 damsels no longer distressed," 2 July 2018 Now Sawyer is in Hong Kong to provide fire-safety analysis of the world’s tallest building, a $6 billion edifice about to open officially with more than 200 stories of offices, apartments, and a kind of rooftop holodeck. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "The Rock's towering presence fails to elevate 'Skyscraper'," 11 July 2018 On Thursday, veteran education entrepreneur Chris Whittle plans to announce the debut of the D.C. campus in fall 2019 at a prominent site near a cluster of embassies — the striking aluminum and glass edifice at 4000 Connecticut Ave. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Private school with global ambition to open in D.C. and China in 2019," 7 Feb. 2018 That fear takes on visible form in the items of empty clothing suspended spookily above David Israel Reynoso’s set, whose urban-edifice walls rise to reveal the bare studs and exposed wiring of the women’s scruffy apartment. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A struggle to cling to identity is at heart of La Jolla Playhouse's quietly moving 'Queens'," 10 July 2018 To visit the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the granite, slate and cast iron edifice across West Executive Avenue from the White House where most of the president’s staff works, at times feels like walking through a ghost town. Peter Baker, New York Times, "A Whirlwind Envelops the White House, and the Revolving Door Spins," 12 Feb. 2018 While the restaurant’s DNA hasn’t changed over time, the edifice has undergone a few expansions, most recently in 2011. Ben Brazil, latimes.com, "Roma D'Italia, an Old Town Tustin mainstay, is still the pride of the Corea family," 31 May 2018

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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Statistics for edifice

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of edifice

: a large or impressive building

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More from Merriam-Webster on edifice

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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 private place of worship

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