The roots of cathedral has been around longer than cathedrals have, which is saying something. This word, meaning "main church of a diocese," dates all the way to the Proto-Indo-European word kmt, defined as "down" or "with". This went into Greek as kata, solely with the meaning "down", and soon fused with another word (hedra, from the PIE root sed, "to sit") to make the word kathedra "seat or bench", since you sit down on a seat. In Greek-to-Latin transitions, k's often change to c's, and this was no different, as the word cathedra took place (this doubled as a "comfy seat" or a "woman sitting in a comfy seat"). As this passed into Church Latin, it dropped any possibly inappropriate connotations as cathedralis or "bishop's seat". This makes sense if you view "seat" as a "seat of power" and a cathedral as a seat of a bishop's power, which in most cases it is. So, next time you sit down in a cathedral, you sit down in a sit down.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy philosophy, trivia, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.