On a trip to Europe, many visitors appreciate the stunning architecture of large churches known as cathedrals.

The word cathedral comes from a Latin word meaning “seat.” The seat referred to is the seat of the bishop, who is the leader of a group of churches related to the cathedral. The bishop’s seat is both a metaphor for the cathedral as the bishop’s “seat of power” and his actual chair, the "cathedra," inside the cathedral. Originally a cathedral was called a “cathedral church,” with cathedral as an adjective, but it is now a noun.

Definitions of cathedral
  1. noun
    the principal Christian church building of a bishop's diocese
    synonyms: duomo
    see moresee less
    type of:
    church, church building
    a place for public (especially Christian) worship
  2. noun
    any large and important church
    see moresee less
    Chartres Cathedral
    a Gothic cathedral in northern France; built in 13th century
    Westminster Abbey
    a famous Gothic church of St. Peter in Westminster, London on the site of a former Benedictine monastery
    any of certain cathedrals and large churches; originally connected to a monastery
    type of:
    church, church building
    a place for public (especially Christian) worship
  3. adjective
    relating to or containing or issuing from a bishop's office or throne
    “a cathedral church”
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month