American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A book giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form.
- n. A manual giving basic instruction in a subject, usually by rote or repetition.
- n. A body of fundamental principles or beliefs, especially when accepted uncritically: "the core of the catechism of the antinuclear left, the notion that the threat to peace is technological, not political” ( George F. Will).
- n. A close questioning or examination, as of a political figure.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A form of instruction by means of questions and answers, particularly in the principles of religion.
- n. An elementary book containing a summary of principles in any science or art, but especially in religion, reduced to the form of questions and answers, and sometimes with notes, explanations, and references to authorities. The following are the principal authoritative church catechisms: The Lutheran, prepared by Luther (1529), still in general use in the German Protestant churches; the Genevan, prepared by Calvin (1536); the Heidelberg, published at Heidelberg (1563), and still a recognized doctrinal standard in the Reformed (Dutch) Church; the Anglican (1549-1604), contained in the Book of Common Prayer and directed by rubric to be taught systematically to children; the Westminster Assembly's, in two forms, Shorter and Larger Catechisms (1647), in use in the Presbyterian and to some extent in Congregational churches; the Methodist (United States, 1852), in three forms. The Tridentine catechism (1566) is a statement of doctrines prepared in obedience to a decree of the Council of Trent, and is of high though not absolute authority in the Roman Catholic Church, but is not intended for use in the instruction of children. The Cracovian and Racorian catechisms (1574, 1605) are Polish in origin and Socinian in doctrine. Numerous other catechisms have been prepared by individuals, but they possess no ecclesiastical authority.
- n. A book, in question and answer form, summarizing the basic principles of Christianity.
- n. A basic manual in some subject.
- n. A set of questions designed to determine knowledge.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A form of instruction by means of questions and answers.
- n. A book containing a summary of principles, especially of religious doctrine, reduced to the form of questions and answers.
- n. an elementary book summarizing the principles of a Christian religion; written as questions and answers
- n. a series of question put to an individual (such as a political candidate) to elicit their views
- From Late Latin catechismus, from Ancient Greek *κατηχισμός ("katēkhismos"), from κατηχίζω (katēkhizō, "to catechize"), a later extended form of κατηχέω (katēkheō, "to catechize, instruct, teach by word of mouth"), from κατά (kata, "down") + ἠχέω (ēkheō, "to sound, to resound"). (Wiktionary)
- French catechisme, from Old French, from Late Latin catēchismus, from Late Greek katēkhismos, from katēkhizein, to teach by word of mouth; see catechize. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Then we had what we called the catechism -- the chief end of man.”
“The bishops might defend themselves on the grounds that when it comes to articles of faith the catechism is not a Chinese menu.”
“Their catechism is very similar to RCs but marriage is an option for those not wanting to climb the organised theological career ladder.”
“Religious instruction, such as Catholic catechism, is strictly voluntary.”
“Not all Christians are creationists" she says with one side of her mouth, while espousing the episcopal catechism from the pulpit with the other side.”
“I was always the one to ask the 'wrong' questions in catechism classes.”
“The word catechism was also formerly used for the act of instructing ( "To say ay, and no, to these particulars, is more than to answer in a catechism" -- As You Like It, act iii, sc. 2), as catéchisme is still used in French; but it is now more properly applied to the little printed book in which the questions and answers are contained.”
“However, according to the usage of the word catechism described above, the statement quoted does not preclude that Luther, when writing thus, was engaged on both Catechisms.”
“It is for this reason, too, that it bears the name catechism,”
“Luther added the explanation "christliche Zucht" because the word catechism had not yet become current among the people.”
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