Ex cathedra is a Latin phrase, meaning not "from the cathedral," but "from the chair." The phrase does have religious origins though: it was originally applied to decisions made by Popes from their thrones. According to Roman Catholic doctrine, a Pope speaking ex cathedra on issues of faith or morals is infallible. In general use, the phrase has come to be used with regard to statements made by people in positions of authority, and it is often used ironically to describe someone speaking with overbearing or unwarranted self-certainty.
Examples of ex cathedra in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the WebRoman Catholicism may have a pope who has the ex cathedra power, used rarely, to state that a particular dogma is absolutely and essentially at the core of the faith.
Patrick T. Reardon, Star Tribune, 1 Oct. 2020 Happer has repeatedly questioned the underlying science and dismissed dire warnings of a planet in peril, and had hoped the establishment of a review panel would provide an ex cathedra counterweight to the scientific consensus.
Author: Michael Wilner, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Feb. 2020
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ex cathedra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.