[en-sik-li-kuh l, -sahy-kli-]
Roman Catholic Church. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.
(of a letter) intended for wide or general circulation; general.
Origin of encyclical
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
a letter sent by the pope to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world
adjective Also: encyclic
(of letters) intended for general or wide circulation
Word Origin for encyclical
C17: from Late Latin encyclicus, from Greek enkuklios general, from kuklos circle
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
in reference to a letter sent by the Pope to all the bishops, 1640s, from Late Latin encyclicus, from Latin encyclius, from Greek enkyklios "in a circle, circular" (see encyclopedia). As a noun, from 1837.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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.