I would like to describe a certain orderliness found in music like Bach and elsewhere, that I find to resemble (in metaphorical terms) the architecture and construction of a cathedral. It would be for use in a sentence such as the following:

"The music he wrote had a cathedral-like orderliness."

Instead of "cathedral-like," however, I would like to use a word such as "cathedraline" or "cathedralesque." But I'm not sure a word like those actually exists. Any help welcome, many thanks.


2 Answers 2


Cathedralesque is indeed a word and it is listed in OED.

adj. like a cathedral.

I've even found an example similar to yours:

One of the many astonishing things about Die Meistersinger is how the little Greek and Roman plot blossoms, in Wagner's shaping imagination, into a dramatic and musical structure of cathedralesque proportions.

First Intermissions: Twenty-one Great Operas Explored, Explained and Brought to Life from the Met - M. Owen Lee

OED lists cathedralic and cathedralish also for the same meaning but they are less common (based on Google Ngram) and less suitable. Cathedral-like is the most common adjective among all and it is listed in OED also, however you didn't want to use it per your question; and it is possibly less suitable than cathedralesque for your example.


Cathedral actually means the housing of the seat of a bishop, although the term is often used for an imposing building. So, a term referring to a cathedral may not be what you want
I would suggest edificial as useful for your purpose.

The music he wrote had an edificial orderliness.

Dictionary.com comes close to providing a definition of edificial that meets your need.

  • 1
    The seat of a bishop is a cathedra, not a cathedral. Cathedral is in fact just an adjective derived from that word, meaning ‘pertaining to a cathedra’; the main noun ‘church’ has been washed away by the centuries. Since the adjective cathedral means, essentially, ‘chair-like’, I agree that it’s probably not the best term for the context sought here; but the inaccuracy of the rest stays my upvoting finger. Feb 1, 2018 at 1:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.