ecumenical movement


[ek-yoo-men-i-kuh l or, esp. British, ee-kyoo-]
  1. general; universal.
  2. pertaining to the whole Christian church.
  3. promoting or fostering Christian unity throughout the world.
  4. of or relating to a movement (ecumenical movement), especially among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at achieving universal Christian unity and church union through international interdenominational organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual concern.
  5. interreligious or interdenominational: an ecumenical marriage.
  6. including or containing a mixture of diverse elements or styles; mixed: an ecumenical meal of German, Italian, and Chinese dishes.
Also ec·u·men·ic; Archaic, oec·u·men·i·cal, oec·u·men·ic.

Origin of ecumenical

1835–45; < Late Latin oecumenicus belonging to the whole inhabited world (< Greek oikoumenikós, equivalent to oikoumen- (stem of passive present participle of oikeîn to inhabit) + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related formsec·u·men·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·ec·u·men·ic, adjectivenon·ec·u·men·i·cal, adjectivenon·oec·u·men·ic, adjectiveun·oec·u·men·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for ecumenical movement


oecumenical ecumenic or oecumenic

  1. of or relating to the Christian Church throughout the world, esp with regard to its unity
    1. tending to promote unity among Churches
    2. of or relating to the international movement initiated among non-Catholic Churches in 1910 aimed at Christian unity: embodied, since 1937, in the World Council of Churches
  2. rare universal; general; worldwide
Derived Formsecumenically or oecumenically, adverb

Word Origin for ecumenical

C16: via Late Latin from Greek oikoumenikos, from oikein to inhabit, from oikos house
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 ecumenical movement



late 16c., "representing the entire (Christian) world," formed in English as an ecclesiastical word, from Late Latin oecumenicus "general, universal," from Greek oikoumenikos, from he oikoumene ge "the inhabited world (as known to the ancient Greeks); the Greeks and their neighbors considered as developed human society," from oikoumenos, present passive participle of oikein "inhabit," from oikos "house, habitation" (see villa).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper