Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Intended for general or wide circulation.
  • noun A papal letter addressed to the bishops of the Church or to the hierarchy of a particular country.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A papal letter delivered to Bishops in the Roman Catholic Church.
  • adjective Intended for general circulation.

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

  • adjective intended for wide distribution
  • noun a letter from the pope sent to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world

Etymologies

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

[From Medieval Lattin encyclicus, circular, from Greek enkuklios : en-, in; see en– + kuklos, circle; see kwel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin encyclicus, from Ancient Greek εγκυκλιος (enkyklios, "circular, general"), from εν− (en-) + κύκλος (kyklos, "circle").

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