What does Cathedral mean?

Definitions for Cathedral
kəˈθi drəlcathe·dral

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Cathedral.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. cathedralnoun

    any large and important church

  2. cathedral, duomoadjective

    the principal Christian church building of a bishop's diocese

  3. cathedraladjective

    relating to or containing or issuing from a bishop's office or throne

    "a cathedral church"


  1. cathedralnoun

    A big church building, central place for some area.

  2. cathedralnoun

    The principal church of a bishop's diocese which contains an episcopal throne.

  3. Etymology: From cathedral church, from ecclesia cathedralis, from καθέδρα, from κατά + ἕδρα.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Cathedraladjective

    Etymology: from cathedra, Lat. a chair of authority; an episcopal see.

    A cathedral church is that wherein there are two or more persons, with a bishop at the head of them, that do make as it were one body politick. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    Methought I sat in seat of majesty,
    In the cathedral church of Westminster. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    His constant and regular assisting at the cathedral service was never interrupted by the sharpness of weather. John Locke.

    Here aged trees cathedral walks compose,
    And mount the hill in venerable rows;
    There the green infants in their beds are laid. Alexander Pope.

  2. Cathedralnoun

    The head church of a diocese.

    There is nothing in Leghorn so extraordinary as the cathedral, which a man may view with pleasure, after he has seen St. Peter’s. Joseph Addison, on Italy.


  1. Cathedral

    A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra (Latin for 'seat') of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran churches. Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appeared in Italy, Gaul, Spain, and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century, by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures, and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches, and episcopal residences. The cathedral is more important in the hierarchy than the church because it is from the cathedral that the bishop governs the area under his or her administrative authority.Following the Protestant Reformation, the Christian church in several parts of Western Europe, such as Scotland, the Netherlands, certain Swiss Cantons and parts of Germany, adopted a presbyterian polity that did away with bishops altogether. Where ancient cathedral buildings in these lands are still in use for congregational worship, they generally retain the title and dignity of "cathedral", maintaining and developing distinct cathedral functions, but void of hierarchical supremacy. From the 16th century onwards, but especially since the 19th century, churches originating in Western Europe have undertaken vigorous programmes of missionary activity, leading to the founding of large numbers of new dioceses with associated cathedral establishments of varying forms in Asia, Africa, Australasia, Oceania and the Americas. In addition, both the Catholic Church and Orthodox churches have formed new dioceses within formerly Protestant lands for converts and migrant co-religionists. Consequently, it is not uncommon to find Christians in a single city being served by three or more cathedrals of differing denominations.


  1. cathedral

    A cathedral is a large and often ornate Christian church that serves as the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is officially associated. It typically houses the cathedra or bishop's throne and is known for its architectural grandeur, historically signifying the importance and power of the Church. Depending on religious traditions, it may also be the site for significant ceremonies and rites.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Cathedralnoun

    the principal church in a diocese, so called because in it the bishop has his official chair (Cathedra) or throne

  2. Cathedraladjective

    pertaining to the head church of a diocese; as, a cathedral church; cathedral service

  3. Cathedraladjective

    emanating from the chair of office, as of a pope or bishop; official; authoritative

  4. Cathedraladjective

    resembling the aisles of a cathedral; as, cathedral walks

  5. Etymology: [LL. cathedralis: cf. F. cathdral.]


  1. Cathedral

    A cathedral is a Christian church which contains the seat of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Although the word "cathedral" is sometimes loosely applied, churches with the function of "cathedral" occur specifically and only in those denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches. In the Greek Orthodox Church, the terms kathedrikos naos is sometimes used for the church at which an archbishop or "metropolitan" presides. The term "metropolis" is used more commonly than "diocese" to signify an area of governance within the church. There are certain variations on the use of the term "cathedral"; for example, some pre-Reformation cathedrals in Scotland now within the Church of Scotland still retain the term cathedral, despite that church's Presbyterian polity that does not have bishops. The same occurs in Germany, where Protestant churches co-operate under an umbrella organisation, the Evangelical Church in Germany, with some retaining cathedrals or using the term as a merely honorary title and function, void of any hierarchical supremacy. As cathedrals are often particularly impressive edifices, the term "cathedral" is often applied colloquially to any large and impressive church, regardless of whether it functions as a cathedral, such as the Crystal Cathedral in California or figuratively to imply that a church is of outstanding beauty such as St John the Baptist, Tideswell, known as the "Cathedral of the Peak".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Cathedral

    kath-ēd′ral, n. the principal church of a diocese, in which is the seat or throne of a bishop.—adj. belonging to a cathedral.—n. Cathed′ra, a bishop's seat, the episcopal dignity—ex cathedra, from the chair, officially given forth.—adjs. Cathedral′ic, Cathedralesque′, Cathed′raled, vaulted like a cathedral.—n. Cathed′ralism, the cathedral system.—adj. Cathedrat′ic, promulgated ex cathedra, authoritative. [L. cathedra—Gr. kathedra, a seat.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Cathedral

    the principal church in a diocese, and which contains the throne of the bishop as his seat of authority; is of a rank corresponding to the dignity of the bishop; the governing body consists of the dean and chapter.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. cathedral

    [see bazaar for derivation] The ‘classical’ mode of software engineering long thought to be necessarily implied by Brooks's Law. Features small teams, tight project control, and long release intervals. This term came into use after analysis of the Linux experience suggested there might be something wrong (or at least incomplete) in the classical assumptions.

Suggested Resources

  1. cathedral

    Song lyrics by cathedral -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by cathedral on the Lyrics.com website.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Cathedral

    From the Greek kathedra, a seat--i.e. the chair of a bishop. See “City.”

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Cathedral' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3855

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Cathedral' in Nouns Frequency: #1485

How to pronounce Cathedral?

How to say Cathedral in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Cathedral in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Cathedral in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of Cathedral in a Sentence

  1. Terry Mattson:

    The sight of extreme athletes careering down an ice track outside Saint Paul's iconic cathedral is an awe-inspiring spectacle -- and one great big party.

  2. The CT:

    The good condition of the body seems to be the result of several factors in combination : constant air flow, the plant material in the coffin, a long period of illness resulting in the body becoming lean, death and burial during the winter months of December January and the general climate and temperature conditions in Lund Cathedral a year, we can now observe that Winstrup's mummy is one of the best-preserved bodies from Europe in the 1600s, with an information potential well in line with that offered by Otzi the ice man or Egyptian mummies. Bishop Winstrup remains constitute a unique archive of medical history on the living conditions and health of people living in the 1600s.

  3. Hubert Humphrey:

    The pursuit of peace resembles the building of a great cathedral. It is the work of a generation. In concept it requires a master-architect; in execution, the labors of many.

  4. Antoine De Saint-Exupery:

    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

  5. Commissioner Don Garber:

    We have to remember and recognize that in 2003 Philip Anschutz built the cathedral for soccer in the United States, which is now the StubHub Center in Carson.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Cathedral

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"Cathedral." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Cathedral>.

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    an impression that something might be the case
    • A. sweep
    • B. vigorish
    • C. hunch
    • D. helm

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