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Feb 23, 2010
This week's theme
Latin terms in English

This week's words
locum
ex cathedra
de jure
ad hominem
caveat

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

ex cathedra

PRONUNCIATION:
(eks kuh-THEE-druh)

MEANING:
adverb, adjective: Spoken with authority; with the authority of the office.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin ex cathedra (from the chair), from cathedra (chair). In the Roman Catholic Church, when the Pope speaks ex cathedra he is considered infallible. The word cathedral is short for the full term cathedral church, meaning the principal church of a diocese, one containing a bishop's throne.

NOTES:
The term is often used ironically or sarcastically to describe self-certain statements, alluding to the Pope's supposed infallibility, as if an office or position conferred immunity from error. Also see this.

USAGE:
"The Supreme Court's ex cathedra pronouncement that the area is not riverbed or floodplain commits two errors."
Ramaswamy R. Iyer; Let the Games Go On; The Indian Express (New Delhi, India); Aug 4, 2009.

See more usage examples of ex cathedra in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Experts have / their expert fun / ex cathedra / telling one / just how nothing / can be done. -Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

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