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[church] /tʃɜrtʃ/
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).
Origin of church
before 900; Middle English chir(i)che, Old English cir(i)ceGreek kȳri(a)kón (dôma) the Lord's (house), neuter of kȳriakós of the master, equivalent to kȳ́ri(os) master (kŷr(os) power + -ios noun suffix) + -akos, variant of -ikos -ic; akin to Dutch kerk, German Kirche, Old Norse kirkja. See kirk
Related forms
antichurch, adjective
nonchurch, noun
prochurch, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for anti-church
Contemporary Examples
  • anti-church violence and local subterfuge reduced the collection considerably, but the relics have always been endangered.

    Mary Magdalene and Me Tracy Quan November 10, 2009
Historical Examples
  • Misconceptions of long standing, anti-church sentiments, old grievances block the way.

  • Certainly the church is not right, he would argue, but certainly not the anti-church either.

    Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin Robert Louis Stevenson
  • He began thinking, as he says, that "certainly the church was not right, but certainly not the anti-church either."

    The Meaning of Faith Harry Emerson Fosdick
British Dictionary definitions for anti-church


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 force: conflict 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 denominations Compare chapel (sense 4b) related adjective ecclesiastical
verb (transitive)
(Church of England) to bring (someone, esp a woman after childbirth) to church for special ceremonies
(US) to impose church discipline upon
Word Origin
Old English cirice, from Late Greek kurikon, from Greek kuriakon (dōma) the Lord's (house), from kuriakos of the master, from kurios master, from kuros power
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anti-church



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 cumulus. Phonetic spelling from c.1200, established by 16c. For vowel evolution, see bury. 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 church (n.). Related: Churched.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anti-church in Culture

church definition

A group of Christians; church is a biblical word for “assembly.” It can mean any of the following: (1) All Christians, living and dead. (See saints.) (2) All Christians living in the world. (3) One of the large divisions or denominations of Christianity, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, Methodist Church, or Roman Catholic Church. (4) An individual congregation of Christians meeting in one building; also the building itself.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with anti-church


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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