[don-uh-tist, doh-nuh-]


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.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for donatist

British Dictionary definitions for donatist



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

Word Origin for Donatist

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper