Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A building for public, especially Christian worship.
  • n. The company of all Christians regarded as a spiritual body.
  • n. A specified Christian denomination: the Presbyterian Church.
  • n. A congregation.
  • n. Public divine worship in a church; a religious service: goes to church at Christmas and Easter.
  • n. The clerical profession; clergy.
  • n. Ecclesiastical power as distinguished from the secular: the separation of church and state.
  • transitive v. To conduct a church service for, especially to perform a religious service for (a woman after childbirth).
  • adj. Of or relating to the church; ecclesiastical.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Christian house of worship; a building where religious services take place.
  • n. A Christian religious organization, local or general.
  • n. A group of people who follow the same Christian religious beliefs, local or general.
  • n. Religious service held at a church.
  • n. A time of public worship; a worship service.
  • v. To conduct a religious service for (a woman) after childbirth.
  • v. To educate someone religiously, as in in a church.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A building set apart for Christian worship.
  • n. A Jewish or heathen temple.
  • n. A formally organized body of Christian believers worshiping together.
  • n. A body of Christian believers, holding the same creed, observing the same rites, and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a denomination.
  • n. The collective body of Christians.
  • n. Any body of worshipers.
  • n. The aggregate of religious influences in a community; ecclesiastical influence, authority, etc..
  • transitive v. To bless according to a prescribed form, or to unite with in publicly returning thanks in church, as after deliverance from the dangers of childbirth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An edifice or a place of assemblage specifically set apart for Christian worship.
  • n. An edifice dedicated to any other kind of religious worship; a temple.
  • n. The visible and organic body of Christian believers, especially as accepting the ecumenical creeds of Christendom and as exhibiting a historic continuity of organized life.
  • n. The invisible and inorganic community of all those who acknowledge a supreme allegiance to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master.
  • n. A particular division of the whole body of Christians possessing the same or similar symbols of doctrine and forms of worship, and united by a common name and history; a Christian denomination: as, the Presbyterian Church; the Church of England; the Church of Rome.
  • n. The organized body of Christians belonging to the same city, diocese, province, country, or nation: as, the church at Corinth; the Syrian church; in a wider sense, a body of Christians bearing a designation derived from their geographical situation, obedience to a local see, or affiliation with a national ecclesiastical organization: as, the Eastern Church; the Western Church; the Roman Church; the Anglican Church.
  • n. A body of Christians worshiping in a particular church edifice or constituting one congregation.
  • n. The clerical profession.
  • n. Ecclesiastical authority or power, in contradistinction to the civil power, or the power of the state.
  • n. By extension, some religious body not Christian, especially the Jewish: as, the Jewish church.
  • n. [What constitutes a Christian church according to the Scriptures is a question on which Christian denominations widely differ. The three principal views may be distinguished as the Roman Catholic, the Protestant ecclesiastical, and the voluntary. According to Roman Catholic theologians, the church is a visible and organic body, divinely constituted, possessing “Unity, Visibility, Indefectibility, Succession from the Apostles, Universality, and Sanctity” (Faith of Catholics, I. 9), and united to its visible head on earth, the Bishop of Rome. According to the Anglican and Protestant ecclesiastical view, the church of Christ is “a permanent visible society” (Wordsworth on Mat. xvi. 18), divinely compacted, governed, and equipped, and having definite ends, a definite policy, and a historic continuity. (The Church Cyc.) According to the voluntary conception, a church is a society of persons professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of men, and organized in allegiance to him for Christian work and worship, including the administration of the sacraments which he has appointed. (R. W. Dale, Manual of Congr. Principles, Comp. West. Conf., xxxv.; Thirty nine Art., xix.) The second view is held by many, perhaps a majority, in the Episcopal, Lutheran, and other hierarchical denominations; the last by a majority of those in the non-hierarchical denominations, including the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Congregational.]
  • n. The cathedral, or bishop's church, in distinction from the parish churches committed to simple presbyters.
  • n. A title given to the Roman Catholic Church by its adherents.
  • Pertaining to the church; ecclesiastical: as, church politics; a church movement; church architecture.
  • Music, vocal or instrumental, in the style actually used in church services.
  • The order of public worship, especially in the Anglican Church.
  • A book containing the calendar, order of Morning and Evening Prayer, Litany, Collects, Epistles and Gospels, Communion Office, and Psalter, taken from the Book of Common Prayer, with the addition of all the Scripture Lessons.
  • In the Anglican Church, to perform with or for (any one) the office of returning thanks in the church, after any signal deliverance, as from the dangers of childbirth.
  • To accompany in attending church on some special occasion, as that on which a bride first goes to church after marriage: as, the bride was churched last Sunday; to church a newly elected town council.
  • See year.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the body of people who attend or belong to a particular local church
  • n. a service conducted in a house of worship
  • n. a place for public (especially Christian) worship
  • v. perform a special church rite or service for
  • n. one of the groups of Christians who have their own beliefs and forms of worship

Etymologies

Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately from Medieval Greek kūrikon, from Late Greek kūriakon (dōma), the Lord's (house), neuter of Greek kūriakos, of the lord, from kūrios, lord; see keuə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English chirche, from Old English ċiriċe ("church"), from Proto-Germanic *kirikōn (West Germanic *kirika), an early borrowing of Ancient Greek κυριακόν (kuriakon), neuter form of κυριακός (kuriakos, "belonging to the lord"), from κύριος (kurios, "ruler, lord"), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱēw-, *ḱwā- (“to swell, spread out, be strong, prevail”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I love Thomas Paine.

    December 11, 2007

  • "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church." - 'The Age of Reason' by Thomas Paine, 1794.

    December 11, 2007