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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

There is no Hindu pope, no Hindu Vatican, no Hindu catechism, not even a Hindu Sunday. Shashi Tharoor, WSJ, "How Hinduism Has Persisted for 4,000 Years," 17 Jan. 2019 That's the catechism of the Church of Late-Stage Feminism. Fox News, "Ann Coulter on left's meltdown over Kavanaugh allegation; will Carter Page finally learn why the FBI spied on him?," 19 Sep. 2018 Carole Paladino was a catechism teacher at a local church and a retired school nurse. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "New Jersey couple killed after home explodes; officials investigating cause of blast," 7 July 2018 This is not the first change to the catechism in the direction of less tolerance for capital punishment. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Prohibits Death Penalty and Calls for Its Abolition," 2 Aug. 2018 Bill and Jean moved to West Hartford in 1976 where Bill was active at St. Peter Claver Church, teaching catechism classes, joyfully singing in the choir and planning events at Holy Family Retreat Center with the men's retreat league., "William S. Graham," 22 Apr. 2018 Mother Cabrini began her service in New York in 1889, organizing catechism and education classes for Italian immigrants and soliciting donors to help her establish schools and orphanages. Joyce Rudolph,, "Community: Cabrini Guild creates harmony with charities for 75 years," 10 Apr. 2018 These magnificent paintings-on-glass, in churches in Western Europe, played a huge role in teaching the mostly illiterate masses church catechism, Wight says. Doug Main, The Atlantic, "Humankind’s Most Important Material," 7 Apr. 2018 Its adherents might squabble, but their differences lead them back, eventually, to a mutual inheritance: the words of Jesus in the Gospels, the lives of the saints, the rhythms of the liturgy, the catechism of the Church. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Will Pope Francis Cause a Schism in the Catholic Church?," 7 Sep. 2015

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.

See More

First Known Use of catechism

1502, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catechism

see catechesis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catechism

Dictionary Entries near catechism








Statistics for catechism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catechism

The first known use of catechism was in 1502

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on catechism

What made you want to look up catechism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!