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cathedral

[kuh-thee-druh l]
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noun
  1. the principal church of a diocese, containing the bishop's throne.
  2. (in nonepiscopal denominations) any of various important churches.
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adjective
  1. pertaining to or containing a bishop's throne.
  2. pertaining to or emanating from a chair of office or authority.
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Origin of cathedral

1250–1300; Middle English < Late Latin cathedrālis (ecclesia) a cathedral (church). See cathedra, -al1
Related formsca·the·dral·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cathedral

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The Cathedral itself was only a great black bar in the West.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • It was at her right hand, in the second story of a house at the side of the Cathedral.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • It is full of suggestiveness, and, in its way, is as good as a cathedral.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Venerable's not a nice word to use about anything except a cathedral.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The 'bus was now rolling over London Bridge, and the Cathedral could not be seen.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine


British Dictionary definitions for cathedral

cathedral

noun
    1. the principal church of a diocese, containing the bishop's official throne
    2. (as modifier)a cathedral city; cathedral clergy
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Word Origin

C13: from Late Latin (ecclesia) cathedrālis cathedral (church), from cathedra bishop's throne, from Greek kathedra seat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cathedral

n.

1580s, "church of a bishop," from phrase cathedral church (c.1300), partially translating Late Latin ecclesia cathedralis "church of a bishop's seat," from Latin cathedra "an easy chair (principally used by ladies)," also metonymically, e.g. cathedrae molles "luxurious women;" also "a professor's chair;" from Greek kathedra "seat, bench," from kata "down" (see cata-) + hedra "seat, base, chair, face of a geometric solid," from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).

It was born an adjective, and attempts to cobble further adjectivization onto it in 17c. yielded cathedraical (1670s), cathedratic (1660s), cathedratical (1660s), after which the effort seems to have been given up.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cathedral in Culture

cathedral

A Christian church building in which a bishop has his official seat (cathedra is Latin for “chair”). A cathedral is usually large and imposing, and many cathedrals are important in the history of architecture. (See Chartres, Notre Dame de Paris, and Saint Paul's Cathedral.)

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cathedral

A church building in which a Christian bishop has his official seat; cathedra is Latin for “chair.” Cathedrals are usually large and imposing, and many have been important in the development of architecture. The building of a cathedral, especially in the Middle Ages, was a project in which the entire town took part. (See Chartres; Notre Dame de Paris; and Saint Paul's Cathedral.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.