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ex cathedra

[ eks kuh-thee-druh, kath-i-druh ]
/ ˈɛks kəˈθi drə, ˈkæθ ɪ drə /
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adjective, adverb

from the seat of authority; with authority: used especially of those pronouncements of the pope that are considered infallible.

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Origin of ex cathedra

First recorded in 1810–20, ex cathedra is from Latin ex cathedrā literally, “from the chair”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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
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

Cultural definitions for ex cathedra

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.

Figuratively, any authoritative pronouncement may be called “ex cathedra.”
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.
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