Definition of basilica in English:

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Pronunciation: /bəˈsɪlɪkə/
Pronunciation: /bəˈzɪlɪkə/


1A large oblong hall or building with double colonnades and a semicircular apse, used in ancient Rome as a law court or for public assemblies.
Example sentences
  • Kent's solution was to devise an original interior combining element from Vitruvius's Egyptian Hall, the colonnaded basilicas of ancient Rome, and the frieze from the Temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome.
  • It had an assembly hall, or basilica, where the orders were issued, and there was a shrine to the imperial cult, where statues of the Emperor were kept.
  • The resources required to deliver a combination of projects of road building, laying out of street grids, the provision of forums, basilicas, public baths, etc. were not such as to lead to a rapid execution.
1.1A building similar to a Roman basilica, used as a Christian church.
Example sentences
  • It's also tiny, with about 27 miles of coastline, a capital town called Victoria, 17 other villages, dozens of magnificent churches, a cathedral and a basilica.
  • Dodona is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, home not only to a shrine to the oracle but also to ruins of a temple to the Greek god Zeus and an early Christian basilica.
  • Remains of an early Christian funerary basilica dating back to the 5th century have been brought to light in Marseilles.
1.2The name given to certain churches granted special privileges by the Pope.
Example sentences
  • A humble priest saying Mass with the poor in a slum of Mexico City effects the same mystery as does the cardinal archbishop in his cathedral or the pope in the basilica of St. Peter's.
  • The basilica takes its name from John the Baptist and John the apostle, and also from the Laterani, the family of Constantine's wife, who donated the land on which the church stands.
  • Vatican archeologists believe that they have identified the tomb of St. Paul in the Roman basilica that bears his name.



Pronunciation: /bəˈsɪlɪkən/
Pronunciation: /bəˈzɪlɪkən/
Example sentences
  • The religious structure, which from initial inspection measures about 15 meters [49.2 feet] wide, follows a basilican plan with no transept, a marble flooring, and a very beautiful mosaic.
  • Paired with the Labors of Adam and Eve in the British Library and Huntington Library Speculum books is an image of Noah's ark, a bargelike vessel with a basilican superstructure beneath a dove with outstretched wings.
  • The building is basilican in plan with service spaces and exhibit spaces on either side of a central circulation spine.


Mid 16th century: from Latin, literally 'royal palace', from Greek basilikē, feminine of basilikos 'royal', from basileus 'king'.

  • Basilica is a Latin word, literally ‘royal palace’, based on Greek basileus ‘king’. This Greek root has also given rise to: the aromatic herb basil, the ‘royal’ herb for its many qualities—one early source even says that it is ‘good for the stryking of a se dragon’; and basilisk (Middle English) which has come via Latin from Greek basiliskos with the senses ‘little king’, ‘serpent’ (specifying a type distinguished by a crown-like spot), and a ‘wren’ (with a gold crown-like crest). In English a basilisk is either a mythical reptile hatched by a serpent from a cock's egg, or a zoological term for a Central American lizard.

Words that rhyme with basilica


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ba¦sil|ica

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