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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for edifice


cathedral, hall, palace, tower

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

It's been wonderful watching that extraordinary Renzo Piano edifice reach its completion under the guidance of founding director Kerry Brougher. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "New Academy President David Rubin on Oscars Challenges and Becoming First Openly Gay Leader (Q&A)," 8 Aug. 2019 Brave the tour buses to reach the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, a concrete and stone edifice carved into a grassy headland. Serena Renner, National Geographic, "Road trip through the Irish countryside’s wild beauty," 12 Mar. 2019 Drawing from various European architectural styles, King Ludwig II devoted the last 17 years of his life to building this 19th-century edifice, so fantastical that Disney modeled Cinderella’s castle after it. National Geographic, "Castles, vineyards, and fairy-tale villages: Drive the Romantic Road," 14 Aug. 2019 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 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 Within the walls of this edifice, fountains of data lie waiting to be discovered by citizens representing all strata of life. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Newport Beach Central Library turns the page on its first 25 years," 6 July 2019 An ideal perch to explore Las Ramblas, the fantastic Gaudi buildings, the Picasso museum and the city’s excellent aquarium is Hotel Arts Barcelona, a soaring edifice of exposed glass and steel right on the beach with a swimming pool. Amy Tara Koch, Twin Cities, "Finding European hotel rooms for families can be tough. Here are suggestions in 8 cities.," 6 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about edifice

Dictionary Entries near edifice








Statistics for edifice

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for edifice

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for edifice



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!