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 catechism (audio) \ adjective
catechistic \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈki-​stik How to pronounce catechism (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 This discomfiting fact is particularly ironic in the framework of the catechism of today’s Great Awokening, which negatively sanctions the appropriation of others’ experiences as one’s own. Adolph Reed Jr., The New Republic, "The Retrograde Quest for Symbolic Prophets of Black Liberation," 17 Feb. 2021 Campos, a devout Catholic in Alexandria, Va., who sang in her church choir and taught catechism classes to children in her free time, died on Nov. 30 from complications of covid-19. Washington Post, "Elsi Mabelicia Campos, devoted mother who kept the Pew building spotless, dies of covid-19," 10 Dec. 2020 Plans for a catechism are on hold, due to the virus. Meredith Colias-pete,, "For this Merrillville church community, restoring trust comes first," 6 Nov. 2020 Francis held his audience Wednesday in his private library with around 10 priests to translate summaries of his catechism lesson, which was livestreamed. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Pope returns to private library for audience as virus surges," 4 Nov. 2020 Instead of wading into the crowd to embrace the sick and kiss babies during his weekly general audience Wednesday, Francis walked in through a back door directly onto the stage to begin his catechism lesson. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Pope apologizes for keeping distance as virus cases spike," 14 Oct. 2020 According to this theory (which could explain the peculiar gifts listed in the song), after the Reformation in England, persecuted Catholics taught their children the catechism using the poem’s imagery as symbols relevant to their faith. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "Here's What to Know About the '12 Days of Christmas' Meaning," 28 Sep. 2020 There were coconut and banana and mango trees, and Penha, a devout Catholic, had enough room on her property to loan out three rooms to Vila Autódromo’s church, São José, for catechism classes. Bill Donahue, Washington Post, "For the Olympics, poor communities in host cities are regularly displaced. For the Rio 2016 games, one village’s resistance sparked a global question: Should they be abolished?," 6 July 2020 In audio, this sentence structure is repeated for roughly the length of a network sitcom, and slowly takes on the feel of mantra or catechism. Giri Nathan, New York Times, "Some Personal News From Samantha Irby," 1 May 2020

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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Catechism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for catechism



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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Comments on catechism

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