The following is an excerpt from a travel guide transcript about New York City. I can guess the meaning of high temple in the passage, but I am not sure I know what it means literally and figuratively. I looked it up in a number of dictionaries, but I failed.

New York has always been the gateway to the Land of the Free. But it is also the city of the spree — the shopping spree. The city is shopaholic heaven. And Fifth Avenue with its eye-popping window displays, is the high temple of the retail world.


3 Answers 3


Temple is not restricted to gods and idols. It also means something else! Straight from the Oxford Dictionaries, definition 1.5

  • A place devoted to or seen as the centre of a particular activity or interest.

Undoubtedly, the Fifth Avenue at the Big Apple is the center of retails! Ah, I wish to shop there! :)


A temple is a building devoted to worship of a god or gods. The high temple is the most important temple in the land. Fifth Avenue is where the figurative god of shopping is worshipped.

temple 1 NOUN 1A building devoted to the worship of a god or gods.

Temple (Oxford Dictionary)

  • 1
    I know you say "figurative" in your answer, but I'm still not so sure this would be the most helpful answer for learners. There is a pretty marked usage difference between the Temple in Jerusalem and the "temple" on Fifth Avenue.
    – J.R.
    Jun 1, 2018 at 14:06

I found a sentence while I was looking for a sunglasses. It goes "An oval-shaped face works with any style of Classic frame.....just stick with the high temples" I just guessed that high temple means shop which sells some fine goods (with high price tag)

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