: a building used for public worship by Muslims

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Mosques were known to the English-speaking world long before we called them mosques. In the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, we used many different variations of the word—moseak, muskey, moschy, mos’keh, among others—until we finally hit on mosquee, emulating Middle French. The Middle French word had come by way of Italian and Old Spanish from the Arabic word for "temple," which is masjid. In the early 1700s, we settled on the present spelling, and mosque thus joined other English words related to Muslim worship: mihrab, for the special niche in a mosque that points towards Mecca; minaret, for the tall slender tower of a mosque; and muezzin, for the crier who, standing in the minaret, calls the hour of daily prayers.

Examples of mosque in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now, the one that was struck was - there was – there's a mosque next to the hospital and the Israeli military bombarded that mosque and people were running because they were injured, running to the hospital. CBS News, 19 Nov. 2023 Israel maintains Hamas fighters are operating out of buildings designated for humanitarian purposes -- including medical facilities, schools and mosques. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 14 Nov. 2023 The Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, is now inside Gaza City, fighting Hamas above and below ground — among civilians, around hospitals, schools and mosques — in areas the IDF says are honeycombed with tunnels. Alex Horton, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2023 In this culture of the physical imbued with the sacred, Najaf and Karbala, with their grand ayatollahs and seminaries, along with the mosque in Kufa, where Ali died, form the points of a sacred triangle. Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Inside Gaza, cut off from the world by a near total blockade, Israeli airstrikes have decimated entire neighborhoods, leveling homes, schools and mosques. Helen Regan, CNN, 24 Oct. 2023 Hamas officials said two other mosques in the area were hit, but The Post could not independently verify that. Sarah Dadouch, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 The same at area mosques and the Palestinian American Community Center in Clifton. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 4 Nov. 2023 But those targets can be near or beneath apartment buildings, mosques and schools, Israeli officials have said. Aaron Boxerman, New York Times, 2 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mosque.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


earlier mosquee, from Middle French, from Old Italian moschea, from Old Spanish mezquita, from Arabic masjid temple, from sajada to prostrate oneself, worship

First Known Use

1585, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mosque was in 1585


Dictionary Entries Near mosque

Cite this Entry

“Mosque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a Muslim place of worship
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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