- a member of any of various Protestant sects, formed in Europe after 1520, that denied the validity of infant baptism, baptized believers only, and advocated social and economic reforms as well as the complete separation of church and state.
- Archaic. Baptist(def 1).
- of or relating to Anabaptists or Anabaptism.
- a member of any of various 16th-century Protestant movements that rejected infant baptism, insisted that adults be rebaptized, and sought to establish Christian communism
- a member of a later Protestant sect holding the same doctrines, esp with regard to baptism
- of or relating to these movements or sects or their doctrines
1530s, “one who baptizes over again,” from Modern Latin anabaptista, from Latin anabaptismus “second baptism” (used in literal sense from 4c.; see anabaptism).
Originally in English in reference to sect that practiced adult baptism and arose in Germany 1521. Probably so called because, as a new faith, they baptized converts who already had been baptized (as infants) in the older Christian churches. Modern branches only baptize once (adults) and do not actively seek converts. The name also was applied, usually opprobriously, to Baptists, perhaps due to the multiple immersions of their baptisms.