Definition of cathedral in English:



  • The principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is officially associated.

    [in names] ‘St Paul's Cathedral’
    • ‘Many ancient churches and cathedrals in the British Isles, for example, are built on sites that were originally sacred to pagans.’
    • ‘Many cathedrals, including York Minster, allow girls to sing in this traditionally male-dominated arena.’
    • ‘Masons were highly skilled craftsmen and their trade was most frequently used in the building of castles, churches and cathedrals.’
    • ‘He has continued to live at Minster House next to the cathedral while on sabbatical leave.’
    • ‘Everything in a Gothic cathedral is like a book full of meaning; cathedrals have been called encyclopaedias of stone.’
    • ‘Now, I rarely go to church except to visit great cathedrals or quaint roadside chapels.’
    • ‘There is no need of vestments, bishops or cathedrals to worship Him, only a repentant heart and a will to follow.’
    • ‘With the exception of Worcester Cathedral, William appointed Norman bishops to these cathedrals.’
    • ‘At first glance, the New College Chapel looks like the many other churches and cathedrals that abound in Oxford.’
    • ‘This entrance to Amiens Cathedral in France shows just how vast cathedrals were.’
    • ‘When many people think of the Church, they think of cathedrals, stained glass windows and buildings with a cross on top.’
    • ‘Stained glass was originally restricted to churches and cathedrals.’
    • ‘A two-minute silence was observed across the city in churches, cathedrals, shops and homes.’
    • ‘Clerics from the wealthiest churches and cathedrals had robes as fine as any worn by nobles and princes.’
    • ‘And what is true of the Minster is true of the cathedrals and parish churches throughout the land.’
    • ‘They have sung by invitation in cathedrals, chapels, pubs and clubs.’
    • ‘Durham Cathedral is one of the most majestic cathedrals in Britain and a unique combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.’
    • ‘Sometimes these lectures were held in the schools, but other times they were held in churches or cathedrals.’
    • ‘Thus early monasteries may be associated with cathedrals, colleges, and minsters.’
    • ‘Since his release last April he has sought sanctuary at the cathedral after receiving death threats.’


Middle English (as an adjective, the noun being short for cathedral church ‘the church which contains the bishop's throne’): from late Latin cathedralis, from Latin cathedra seat, from Greek kathedra.