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ex cathedra

[eks kuh-thee-druh, kath-i-druh] /ˈɛks kəˈθi drə, ˈkæθ ɪ drə/
adjective, adverb
from the seat of authority; with authority: used especially of those pronouncements of the pope that are considered infallible.
Origin of ex cathedra
First recorded in 1810-20, ex cathedra is from the Latin word ex cathedrā literally, from the chair Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ex cathedra
Historical Examples
  • They are not to be foisted on one's readers as anything "ex cathedra."

    Visions and Revisions John Cowper Powys
  • Why does he pronounce, ex cathedra and robed, that Cowper is no poet?

    Table-Talk William Hazlitt
  • For your ex cathedra knowledge of serving wines, for example.

    The Tempering

    Charles Neville Buck
  • Their opinions are given with an ex cathedra air that seems to exclude any appeal against them.

  • Whatever is may not be right—the maxim has too much of an ex cathedra sound—but whatever is is interesting.

    French Art W. C. Brownell
  • Uncle Sam examined it and pronounced, ex cathedra, that it must have been a real letter.

British Dictionary definitions for ex cathedra

ex cathedra

/ɛks kəˈθiːdrə/
adjective, adverb
with authority
(RC Church) (of doctrines of faith or morals) defined by the pope as infallibly true, to be accepted by all Catholics
Word Origin
Latin, literally: from the chair
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
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Word Origin and History for ex cathedra

Latin, literally "from the (teacher's) chair," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + cathedra (see cathedral).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ex cathedra in Culture
ex cathedra [(eks kuh-thee-druh)]

Descriptive term for an official pronouncement from the pope. Ex cathedra is Latin for “from the chair.” Roman Catholics believe that the pope speaks infallibly when speaking ex cathedra on questions of faith or morals, such as when Pope Pius XII declared in 1950 that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was physically taken up to heaven after her death.

Note: Figuratively, any authoritative pronouncement may be called “ex cathedra.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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