cat·​e·​chism | \ ˈka-tə-ˌki-zəm How to pronounce catechism (audio) \

Definition of catechism

1 : oral instruction
2 : a manual for catechizing (see catechize sense 1) specifically : a summary of religious doctrine often in the form of questions and answers
3a : a set of formal questions put as a test
b : something resembling a catechism especially in being a rote response or formulaic statement The cook often consulted the latest nutritional catechism for advice.

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Other Words from catechism

catechismal \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkiz-​məl How to pronounce catechismal (audio) \ adjective
catechistic \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈki-​stik How to pronounce catechistic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of catechism in a Sentence

They went to school to learn their catechism. He taught catechism at Sunday school.
Recent Examples on the Web The internet says otherwise, but many locals repeat this nugget of misinformation in my exchanges with them, turning it into something like the catechism of town pride: reinforced concrete, world’s first, right here in Cerbère. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "Privacy Policy," 27 Jan. 2020 Conservatives’ anger is eerily unrelated to the comprehensive apostasy from what was, three years ago, conservatism’s catechism. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Weak political parties smooth the way for demagogues," 27 Oct. 2019 Zmirak claims that the article cites one papal encyclical and statements by the U.S. bishops rather than the catechism as authoritative, that is, binding on the conscience of faithful Catholics. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "Defending Amy Coney Barrett against the Right," 3 Oct. 2019 There are no accounts or syllabuses of what Anna taught the van Gogh children, but she was hired to give the children singing lessons and teach them Protestant catechism. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Research Reveals Vincent Van Gogh’s Artistic Governess," 1 Oct. 2019 This form of ritualistic public chanting activates the embarrassment of belonging to a group, and the awfulness of hearing one’s own voice in catechism with others. Christine Smallwood, Harper's magazine, "Novel, Essay, Poem," 16 Sep. 2019 He was born in 1924, the third child of a carpenter and catechism teacher, in the Matibiri village in the Zvimba district of what was then known as Southern Rhodesia. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Robert Mugabe has died leaving behind a conflicted legacy," 6 Sep. 2019 Other conservative American Catholics have been disturbed by the Pope's theological reforms, including revising the Catholic catechism on the death penalty and creating an opening for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. Delia Gallagher And Daniel Burke, CNN, "Pope says 'it is an honor that Americans attack me'," 4 Sep. 2019 And because Bennet, 54, was eight when Joe Biden came to the Senate, Bennet has not had to conduct a Bidenesque Grovel Tour to apologize for deviations, decades ago, from today’s progressive catechism. George Will, National Review, "To Defeat Trump, Democrats Should Nominate Michael Bennet," 14 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catechism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of catechism

1502, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catechism

see catechesis

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Time Traveler for catechism

Time Traveler

The first known use of catechism was in 1502

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Statistics for catechism

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Catechism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for catechism


How to pronounce catechism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of catechism

: a collection of questions and answers that are used to teach people about the Christian religion
: a book that explains the beliefs of the Christian religion by using a list of questions and answers


cat·​e·​chism | \ ˈka-tə-ˌki-zəm How to pronounce catechism (audio) \

Kids Definition of catechism

1 : a series of questions and answers used in giving religious instruction
2 : a set of formal questions

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More from Merriam-Webster on catechism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catechism

Spanish Central: Translation of catechism

Nglish: Translation of catechism for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about catechism

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