[ kat-i-kiz-uhm ]
See synonyms for catechism on
  1. Ecclesiastical.

    • 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.

    • the contents of such a book.

  2. a similar book of instruction in other subjects.

  1. a series of formal questions put, as to political candidates, to bring out their views.

  2. catechetical instruction.

Origin of catechism

1495–1505; <Late Latin catēchismus apparently equivalent to catēch(izāre) to catechize + -ismus-ism

Other words from catechism

  • cat·e·chis·mal, adjective

Words that may be confused with catechism

Words Nearby catechism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use catechism in a sentence

  • The Major thinks he sees his way out of the fire by sinking catechism in reminiscences.

    Somehow Good | William de Morgan
  • He only repeated: "Let us have patience, and wait," with a feeling of relief from possible further catechism.

    Somehow Good | William de Morgan

British Dictionary definitions for catechism


/ (ˈkætɪˌkɪzəm) /

  1. instruction by a series of questions and answers, esp a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian Church

  2. rigorous and persistent questioning, as in a test or interview

Origin of catechism

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

Derived forms of catechism

  • catechismal, adjective

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