cath·​o·​lic | \ ˈkath-lik How to pronounce catholic (audio) , ˈka-thə- \

Definition of catholic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a capitalized : roman catholic Her son goes to a Catholic school.
b often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the church universal
c often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the ancient undivided Christian church or a church claiming historical continuity from it
2 : comprehensive, universal especially : broad in sympathies, tastes, or interests a catholic taste in music


Cath·​o·​lic | \ ˈkath-lik How to pronounce Catholic (audio) , ˈka-thə- \

Definition of Catholic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a member of a Catholic church especially : roman catholic
2 : a person who belongs to the universal Christian church

Other Words from catholic


catholically \ kə-​ˈthä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce catholic (audio) \ adverb
catholicize \ kə-​ˈthä-​lə-​ˌsīz How to pronounce catholic (audio) \ verb

Examples of catholic in a Sentence

Adjective She is a novelist who is catholic in her interests. a museum director with catholic tastes in art
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But his photography is at the heart of his catholic creativity. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 The wine list, overseen by Nicolas Corão and sommelier Manoel Beato, is catholic in its international offerings, though most proudly Italian. John Mariani, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 There are the more organic but equally taxing speakeasy-style bacchanals, where, as the night progresses, a more and more catholic range of vices begins to emerge from pockets and back rooms. Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2022 Our intent was to be as catholic and creative in our selections as possible, highlighting items both rarefied and workaday that represent the city’s innumerable styles of international cuisine. New York Times, 17 Dec. 2021 Black authors are carrying us into bird sanctuaries, catholic mass pews, sweeping tropical graveyards, locker room huddles, ship bows, and the hollows of suburbia this season. Admin, Essence, 7 Jan. 2022 Proof of Churchill’s catholic taste, and also of the appeal, beyond political categories, of Wells’s imagination. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2021 In 1960s San Francisco, a once-promising catholic school girl, Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo), sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future for herself and her son that sets new precedents for the time. Mia Galuppo, Billboard, 10 Feb. 2021 There’s a catholic impulse in the origins of Minimalism. Kyle Chayka, The New Republic, 15 May 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of catholic


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for catholic


Middle English catholik, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French catholique, from Late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos universal, general, from katholou in general, from kata by + holos whole — more at cata-, safe

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The first known use of catholic was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Catholic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for catholic


cath·​o·​lic | \ ˈkath-lik How to pronounce catholic (audio) , ˈka-thə- \

Kids Definition of catholic

1 : including many different things or types Mae and Tuck clattered on … past a catholic mixture of houses …— Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
2 capitalized : of or relating to the Roman Catholic church



Kids Definition of Catholic

: a member of the Roman Catholic church

More from Merriam-Webster on catholic

Nglish: Translation of catholic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of catholic for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about catholic


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