ex cathedra

adverb or adjective
ex ca·​the·​dra | \ ˌeks-kə-ˈthē-drə How to pronounce ex cathedra (audio) \

Definition of ex cathedra

: by virtue of or in the exercise of one's office or position ex cathedra pronouncements

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Did You Know?

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 Web Roman 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, "What does it mean to be a 'good Catholic'?," 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, "From ‘hoax’ to ‘serious’: Why one former aide thinks Trump shifted on climate change," 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.

First Known Use of ex cathedra

1693, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ex cathedra

New Latin, literally, from the chair

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Time Traveler for ex cathedra

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The first known use of ex cathedra was in 1693

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ex cathedra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ex%20cathedra. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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