[ church ]
See synonyms for church on
  1. a building for public Christian worship.

  2. public Christian worship of God; a Christian religious service: They attend church regularly.What time does your church start?

  1. the church or the Church, the whole body of Christian believers.

  2. Sometimes Church. any organized group of Christian believers professing the same creed and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a Christian denomination: the Methodist Church.

  3. that part of the whole Christian body, or of a particular denomination, belonging to the same city, country, nation, etc.: The African church was well represented at the international ecumenical conference.

  4. a body of Christians worshipping in a particular building or constituting one congregation: She is a member of this church.

  5. ecclesiastical organization, power, and affairs, as distinguished from the state: The separation of church and state is entrenched in the U.S. Constitution.

  6. the clergy and religious officials of a Christian denomination: The missionary went wherever the church sent him.

  7. the Christian faith: The early 20th century saw the return of many intellectuals to the church.

  8. the church or the Church, the organized body of professing Christians before the Reformation: In a.d. 325, Constantine summoned the leaders of the Church to a conference at Nicaea.

  9. the Church, the Roman Catholic Church.

  10. the clerical profession or calling: After much study and contemplation, he was prepared to enter the church.

  11. Sometimes Offensive. any non-Christian religious society, organization, or congregation, or its place of public worship: He is part of a Satanist church.

verb (used with object)
  1. to conduct or bring to church, especially for special services.

  2. South Midland and Southern U.S. to subject to church discipline.

  1. to perform a church service of thanksgiving for (a woman after childbirth).

Origin of church

First recorded before 900; Middle English chir(i)che, Old English cir(i)ce, ultimately from Greek kȳri(a)kón (dôma) “the Lord's (house),” neuter of kȳriakós “of the master,” from kȳ́ri(os) “master” (from kŷr(os) “power” + -ios, noun suffix) + -akos (variant of -ikos -ic ); akin to Dutch kerk, German Kirche, Old Norse kirkja; see kirk

Other words from church

  • an·ti·church, adjective
  • non·church, noun
  • pro·church, adjective

Words Nearby church

Other definitions for Church (2 of 2)

[ church ]

  1. Frederick Edwin, 1826–1900, U.S. painter. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use church in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for church (1 of 2)


/ (tʃɜːtʃ) /

  1. a building designed for public forms of worship, esp Christian worship

  2. an occasion of public worship

  1. the clergy as distinguished from the laity

  2. (usually capital) institutionalized forms of religion as a political or social force: conflict between Church and State

  3. (usually capital) the collective body of all Christians

  4. (often capital) a particular Christian denomination or group of Christian believers

  5. (often capital) the Christian religion

  6. (in Britain) the practices or doctrines of the Church of England and similar denominations: Compare chapel (def. 4b) Related adjective: ecclesiastical

  1. Church of England to bring (someone, esp a woman after childbirth) to church for special ceremonies

  2. US to impose church discipline upon

Origin of church

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

British Dictionary definitions for Church (2 of 2)


/ (tʃɜːtʃ) /

  1. Charlotte. born 1986, Welsh soprano, who made her name with the album Voice of an Angel (1998) when she was 12

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

Cultural definitions for church


A group of Christians (see also Christian); 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with church


see poor as a churchmouse.

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