American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A lay officer in the Anglican Church chosen annually by the vicar or the congregation to handle the secular and legal affairs of the parish.
- n. One of two elected chief lay officers of the vestry in the Episcopal Church.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the Anglican Church, an officer whose business it is to look after the secular affairs of the church, and who in England is the legal representative of the parish. Churchwardens are appointed by the minister, or elected by the parishioners, to superintend the church, its property and concerns, to enforce proper and orderly behavior during divine service, and in England to fix the church-rates. For these and many other purposes, including in England some of a strictly secular character, they possess corporate powers. There are usually two churchwardens to each parish, but by custom there may be only one. By a canon of the Church of England, joint consent of minister and parish should attend the choice of churchwardens. If they cannot agree, the minister names one and the parishioners the other. In some cases the parish has a right by custom to choose both. In the United States churchwardens are always elected, but have duties similar to the above. In colonial times, in most of the middle and southern colonies, they had civil duties in connection with the local government of the parish.
- n. A long clay pipe.
- n. A shag or cormorant.
- n. UK A lay officer of the Church of England who handles the secular affairs of the parish.
- n. US A similar functionary of the Episcopal church.
- n. UK, slang A churchwarden pipe.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. One of the officers (usually two) in an Episcopal church, whose duties vary in different dioceses, but always include the provision of what is necessary for the communion service.
- n. Slang, Eng. A clay tobacco pipe, with a long tube.
- n. an officer in the Episcopal church who helps a parish priest with secular matters
“The Vicar, finding his comfort in the practice of a Christian virtue, exercised forbearance; but he revenged himself by calling the churchwarden Bismarck behind his back.”
“The squire took down from the mantel his long-stemmed "churchwarden" pipe.”
“He laid great stress and emphasis on having 'his short pipe' with him, probably reserving a regular long-shanked 'churchwarden' for home use.”
“He understood nothing of what the fat man had said, but he caught the word "churchwarden," and remembered it.”
“It reveals unsuspected beauties in the simple "churchwarden," or "yard of clay":”
“Nowhere else surely has a Gothic architect approached so closely to the ideals of his "churchwarden" imitators of the beginning of this century.”
“After the usual salutations, he took his seat beside us, lifted a pipe of the kind called "churchwarden" from the box on the ground, filled and lighted it, and for a little while we were silent all three.”
“SUIT in the Spiritual Court for taking away two bells Prohibition to out of the fteeplc, and a prohibition was granted; s Yritua "Couu* for the churchwarden is a corporation, and the property for taking bell*. tfi in him, and he may bring trover at common law.”
“churchwarden" or "yard of clay" which was not in vogue till the early years of the nineteenth century.”
“I overheard the speaker, who had come to visit his wife's grave but was instead remonstrating with the churchwarden in his English parish.”
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