a. A public building of ancient Rome having a central nave with an apse at one or both ends and two side aisles formed by rows of columns, which was used as a courtroom or assembly hall.
b. A Christian church building of a similar design, having a nave with a semicircular apse, two or four side aisles, a narthex, and a clerestory.
2. Roman Catholic Church A church that has been accorded certain privileges by the pope.
[Latin, fromGreekbasilike, from feminine ofbasilikos, royal, frombasileus, king.]
(click for a larger image)basilica
plan of the 4th-century ad
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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