• synonyms


[don-uh-tist, doh-nuh-]
  1. a member of a Christian sect that developed in northern Africa in a.d. 311 and maintained that it alone constituted the whole and only true church and that baptisms and ordinations of the orthodox clergy were invalid.
Show More

Origin of Donatist

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin Dōnātista; see Donatus, -ist
Related formsDon·a·tism, nounDon·a·tis·tic, Don·a·tis·ti·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for donatist

Historical Examples

  • The Donatist controversy was known to me for some years, as has appeared already.

    Apologia Pro Vita Sua

    John Henry Cardinal Newman

  • Faustinus, a Donatist, his persecution of the Catholics, 353.

  • The Donatist controversy was known to me for some years, as I have instanced above.

    Apologia pro Vita Sua

    John Henry Newman

  • He reformed ecclesiastical discipline in Africa, rent by Arian factions and Donatist schismatics.

  • The Donatist controversy sprang out of the Diocletian persecution in the beginning of the century.

British Dictionary definitions for donatist


  1. a member of a schismatic heretical Christian sect originating in N Africa in 311 ad, that maintained that it alone constituted the true church
Show More
Derived FormsDonatism, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Late Latin Dōnātista a follower of Dōnātus, bishop of Carthage
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 donatist



mid-15c., adherent of a Christian sect in 4c. North Africa, from Medieval Latin Donatista, from Donatus name of two of the principal men in it. The schism had more to do with episcopal succession in Carthage than with doctrine. The name is literally "bestowed, given."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper