[kat-i-kiz-uh m]


  1. an elementary book containing a summary of the principles of the Christian religion, especially as maintained by a particular church, in the form of questions and answers.
  2. the contents of such a book.
a similar book of instruction in other subjects.
a series of formal questions put, as to political candidates, to bring out their views.
catechetical instruction.

Origin of catechism

1495–1505; < Late Latin catēchismus apparently equivalent to catēch(izāre) to catechize + -ismus -ism
Related formscat·e·chis·mal, adjective
Can be confusedcataclysm catechism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for catechism

examination, exam, questioning

British Dictionary definitions for catechism



instruction by a series of questions and answers, esp a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian Church
rigorous and persistent questioning, as in a test or interview
Derived Formscatechismal, adjective

Word Origin for catechism

C16: from Late Latin catēchismus, ultimately from Greek katēkhizein to catechize
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

Word Origin and History for catechism

c.1500, "instruction in Christian principles," also "elementary question-and-answer book of religious instruction," from French catéchisme (14c.) and directly from Church Latin catechismus "book of instruction," from Greek katekhismos, from katekhizein "to teach orally" (see catechize). Related: Catechismal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper