- a building for public Christian worship.
- public worship of God or a religious service in such a building: to attend church regularly.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) the whole body of Christian believers; Christendom.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) any division of this body professing the same creed and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a Christian denomination: the Methodist Church.
- that part of the whole Christian body, or of a particular denomination, belonging to the same city, country, nation, etc.
- a body of Christians worshipping in a particular building or constituting one congregation: She is a member of this church.
- ecclesiastical organization, power, and affairs, as distinguished from the state: separation of church and state; The missionary went wherever the church sent him.
- the clergy and religious officials of a Christian denomination.
- the Christian faith: a return of intellectuals to the church.
- (initial capital letter) the Christian Church before the Reformation.
- (initial capital letter) the Roman Catholic Church.
- the clerical profession or calling: After much study and contemplation, he was prepared to enter the church.
- a place of public worship of a non-Christian religion.
- any non-Christian religious society, organization, or congregation: the Jewish church.
verb (used with object)
- to conduct or bring to church, especially for special services.
- South Midland and Southern U.S. to subject to church discipline.
- to perform a church service of thanksgiving for (a woman after childbirth).
- Charlotte. born 1986, Welsh soprano, who made her name with the album Voice of an Angel (1998) when she was 12
- a building designed for public forms of worship, esp Christian worship
- an occasion of public worship
- the clergy as distinguished from the laity
- (usually capital) institutionalized forms of religion as a political or social forceconflict between Church and State
- (usually capital) the collective body of all Christians
- (often capital) a particular Christian denomination or group of Christian believers
- (often capital) the Christian religion
- (in Britain) the practices or doctrines of the Church of England and similar denominationsCompare Related adjective: ecclesiastical
- Church of England to bring (someone, esp a woman after childbirth) to church for special ceremonies
- US to impose church discipline upon
Old English cirice, circe “church, public place of worship; Christians collectively,” from West Germanic *kirika (cf. Old Saxon kirika, Old Norse kirkja, Old Frisian zerke, Middle Dutch kerke, Dutch kerk, Old High German kirihha, German Kirche), probably [see note in OED] from Greek kyriake (oikia), kyriakon doma “Lord’s (house),” from kyrios “ruler, lord,” from PIE root *keue- “to swell” (“swollen,” hence “strong, powerful”); see . Phonetic spelling from c.1200, established by 16c. For vowel evolution, see . As an adjective from 1570s.
Greek kyriakon (adj.) “of the Lord” was used of houses of Christian worship since c.300, especially in the East, though it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike. An example of the direct Greek-to-Germanic progress of many Christian words, via the Goths; it probably was used by West Germanic people in their pre-Christian period.
Also picked up by Slavic, probably via Germanic (e.g. Old Church Slavonic criky, Russian cerkov). Finnish kirkko, Estonian kirrik are from Scandinavian. Romance and Celtic languages use variants of Latin ecclesia (e.g. French église, 11c.).
Church-bell was in late Old English. Church-goer is from 1680s. Church key is early 14c.; slang use for “can or bottle opener” is by 1954, probably originally U.S. college student slang. Church-mouse, proverbial in many languages for its poverty, is 1731 in English.
“to bring or lead to church,” mid-14c., from Churched.(n.). Related:
A group of church is a biblical word for “assembly.” It can mean any of the following: (1) All Christians, living and dead. (See .) (2) All Christians living in the world. (3) One of the large divisions or denominations of , such as the , , or . (4) An individual congregation of Christians meeting in one building; also the building itself.(see also );
see poor as a churchmouse.