• synonyms


[kat-i-kyoo-muh n]
  1. Ecclesiastical. a person under instruction in the rudiments of Christianity, as in the early church; a neophyte.
  2. a person being taught the elementary facts, principles, etc., of any subject.
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Origin of catechumen

1325–75; < Late Latin catēchūmenus < Greek katēchoúmenos (one who is) being taught orally, equivalent to katēche-, stem of katēcheîn to teach orally (see catechist) + -omenos middle present participle suffix; replacing Middle English cathecumyn < Middle French cathecumine < Late Latin, as above
Related formscat·e·chu·me·nal, cat·e·chu·men·i·cal [kat-i-kyoo-men-i-kuh l] /ˌkæt ɪ kyuˈmɛn ɪ kəl/, adjectivecat·e·chu·men·i·cal·ly, adverbcat·e·chu·me·nate [kat-i-kyoo-muh-neyt, -nit] /ˌkæt ɪˈkyu məˌneɪt, -nɪt/, nouncat·e·chu·men·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for catechumenate

Historical Examples of catechumenate

  • About the year 300, those desirous of being baptized were (a) admitted to the catechumenate, giving in their names to the bishop.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 3


  • These two rites really begin the catechumenate or period of instruction in the faith and discipline of the church.

British Dictionary definitions for catechumenate


  1. Christianity a person, esp in the early Church, undergoing instruction prior to baptism
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Derived Formscatechumenal or catechumenical (ˌkætəkjʊˈmɛnɪkəl), adjectivecatechumenate, nouncatechumenism, noun

Word Origin for catechumen

C15: via Old French, from Late Latin, from Greek katēkhoumenos one being instructed verbally, from katēkhein; see 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 catechumenate



"new convert," 15c., from French catéchumène, from Church Latin catechumenus, from Greek katekhoumenos "one being instructed," passive present participle of katekhein (see catechesis).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper