noun, often capitalized
mec·​ca | \ ˈme-kə How to pronounce mecca (audio) \

Definition of mecca

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a place regarded as a center for a specified group, activity, or interest a mecca for shoppers


geographical name
Mec·​ca | \ ˈme-kə How to pronounce Mecca (audio) \
variants: or Arabic Makkah \ ˈmä-​kə How to pronounce Makkah (audio) \

Definition of Mecca (Entry 2 of 2)

holy city in western Saudi Arabia population 1,294,106

Note: Mecca is the chief pilgrimage destination for Muslims and the capital of Hejaz.

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Other Words from mecca

Geographical name

Meccan \ ˈme-​kən How to pronounce Meccan (audio) \ adjective or noun

The Figurative Use of Mecca

Mecca is one of a number of place names which have taken on figurative meanings over time. This city in Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Muhammad and the site which Muslims must attempt to visit on a pilgrimage; from its role as a religious destination Mecca began to be used in the early 19th century (sometimes capitalized, and sometimes not) in a non-religious sense. Other locations (some of which are fictional) that have taken on this kind of extended meaning are Eden, Camelot, and Wall Street.

Examples of mecca in a Sentence

Noun The valley is a mecca for wine lovers. The town has become a mecca for tourists.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The suspect began shooting at the police station around 3:45 a.m. and killed a homeless man before eluding an intense manhunt in downtown Paso Robles, a mecca for wine enthusiasts located about 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "'This was an ambush': California authorities search for suspect after deputy is shot in the head in Paso Robles," 11 June 2020 Yet he was also drawn to that cultural mecca just beyond the isolation of the San Fernando Valley. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘I’m Your Huckleberry’: Val Kilmer’s candid take on Hollywood and healing," 11 June 2020 Nina Kane, a professional dancer and aerialist, grew up in this tourist mecca impressed by the glamour of the big shows. Katherine Sayre And Kim Mackrael, WSJ, "Coronavirus Shock Could Upend Las Vegas Economy for Years," 3 June 2020 Marfa still closed In Marfa, an old cowtown that over the last couple of decades became a mecca for sophisticated culture tourists and a darling of the New York Times, almost all of the galleries, museums and arty shops are still closed. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "After hard shutdown, Big Bend slowly reopening," 1 June 2020 Locals take back tourist-free Waikiki during pandemic HONOLULU — Growing up in Hawaii, Amber Lethem’s family avoided Waikiki, the world-famous tourist mecca., "Will protests spark a 2nd viral wave?," 31 May 2020 Much of my childhood and all of my adolescence centered on local basketball and its mecca, the University of Pennsylvania arena known as the Palestra. Arn Tellem, Detroit Free Press, "Arn Tellem, Kobe Bryant and the mission that delivered him to the L.A. Lakers," 24 Feb. 2020 Florida has begun reopening for business, but this tourist mecca faces a grinding road to recovery. Alex Leary And Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Orlando Is Reopening. Persuading Tourists to Come Back Is Harder.," 15 May 2020 Macau gaming revenue slipped for the fourth consecutive month after China imposed travel curbs to contain the deadly viral outbreak and visitor arrivals plunged, adding to the woes of the struggling gambling mecca. Jinshan Hong,, "Macau Gaming Revenue Falls Again as Coronavirus Stifles Recovery," 8 May 2020

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


1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mecca


Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a destination of pilgrims in the Islamic world

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Time Traveler for mecca

Time Traveler

The first known use of mecca was in 1843

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Statistics for mecca

Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mecca.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mecca


How to pronounce Mecca (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mecca

: a city in Saudi Arabia that was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the holiest city of Islam
: a place that attracts many people

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More from Merriam-Webster on mecca

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mecca

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mecca

Britannica English: Translation of mecca for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mecca

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