\ ˈchərch How to pronounce church (audio) \

Definition of church

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a building for public and especially Christian worship
2 : the clergy or officialdom of a religious body the word church … is put for the persons that are ordained for the ministry of the Gospel, that is to say, the clergy— J. Ayliffe
3 often capitalized : a body or organization of religious believers: such as
a : the whole body of Christians the one church is the whole body gathered together from all ages— J. H. Newman
b : denomination the Presbyterian church
c : congregation they had appointed elders for them in every church — Acts 14:23 (Revised Standard Version)
4 : a public divine worship goes to church every Sunday
5 : the clerical profession considered the church as a possible career



Definition of church (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : of or relating to a church church government
2 chiefly British : of or relating to the established church


churched; churching; churches

Definition of church (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to bring to church to receive one of its rites


biographical name
\ ˈchərch How to pronounce Church (audio) \

Definition of Church (Entry 4 of 4)

Frederic Edwin 1826–1900 American painter

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Synonyms for church

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of church in a Sentence

Noun This is the oldest church in town. They would like to be married in a church. I didn't see you at church last Sunday. He is a member of the Catholic Church. What church do you belong to? the church's attitude toward divorce the separation of church and state
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Examples of activities that place a student at higher risk include attending a party, church or other social event where masks are not consistently worn; travel outside Maine; or close contact with someone known to have the virus. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Meat plant protest, Twisted Sister, water ski show: News from around our 50 states," 18 Sep. 2020 Trump irritated many by tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd during a visit to an island church. Arkansas Online, "Puerto Rico getting $13B to rebuild Maria-devastated power grid," 18 Sep. 2020 Church and state: The historical and legal underpinnings of the separation of church and state in America. Chronicle Staff Report,, "Bay Area political events: Conservation history, basic income," 18 Sep. 2020 The National Center for Life and Liberty, which represents the church, says Bell and his family have received death threats, Maine Public Radio reported. CBS News, "Officiant of Maine wedding linked to 7 virus deaths says he's been "reviled"," 18 Sep. 2020 The El Paso Police Department is investigating the vandalism, which occurred around 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick Cathedral, when the church was open and available for prayer. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in Texas cathedral destroyed," 17 Sep. 2020 But Robert Graham, a supporter of Trump’s reelection and a member of the LDS church who served as the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party from 2013 to 2017, thinks the campaign may make inroads among his coreligionists by focusing on policy. John Mccormack, National Review, "Election: Battleground Arizona," 17 Sep. 2020 The church then suggested a Jan. 29, 2021, bar date for abuse claims. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer,, "People claiming to be victims of New Orleans clergy sex abuse must come forward by March 1: judge," 17 Sep. 2020 Though the Trump administration's clearing of protesters in front of the White House to visit the church for a photograph was widely criticized, false information spread online that the president held a Bible upside down. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Biden spreads false claims about Trump during CNN town hall," 17 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective ORLANDO, Fla. -- Church bells throughout Orlando will ring 49 times at noon Monday, a year after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. CBS News, "First of several services marks year since Pulse nightclub mass shooting," 12 June 2017 Church education minister Terry Slay told WXIA-TV that the bus was carrying 11th- and 12th-graders, along with adults. Washington Post, "Church bus crashes in Atlanta area; 1 killed, others injured," 8 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As restaurant owners and gun dealers hurried to reopen their doors, and churches hastily organized Wednesday-night services, to make up for the previous lost Sunday, the mayors were understandably outraged. Bob Moser, The New Yorker, "How Mississippi’s Governor Undermined Efforts to Contain the Coronavirus," 7 Apr. 2020 Louisville Courier Journal Two Hopkins County churches that met for revival services in mid-March have received widespread backlash since they were linked to a multi-county COVID-19 outbreak this week. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky church responds to 'unjust criticism' about revival at center of COVID-19 outbreak," 4 Apr. 2020 On Wednesday, word came down from the governor that churches across Kentucky should do just that, a sweeping measure that is expected to have a broad impact in a deeply religious state. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, "Churches Are Canceling Services as the Coronavirus Spreads," 11 Mar. 2020 Another Shincheonji member who church officials said had suffered spousal abuse, a 42-year-old mother of two, died after having fallen from her 11th floor apartment on Monday night. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "‘Proselytizing Robots’: Inside South Korean Church at Outbreak’s Center," 10 Mar. 2020 Bryant would regularly attend Sunday Mass at the Newport Beach church and other Orange County churches close to his home in Newport Coast. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Kobe Bryant, 'man of faith,' attended Mass with his family morning of helicopter crash," 3 Feb. 2020 Homeless people, who often struggle to fall into deep sleep on the sidewalks, can enter either church each weekday at 6 a.m. to stretch out and sleep, no questions asked. Heather Knight,, "Beloved SF homelessness nonprofit scales back as ‘devastating’ crisis takes toll," 17 Dec. 2019 The 12 Hamilton County churches that received money from the foundation were: Word of Deliverance Ministries, Forest Park - $35,000. Sharon Coolidge And Dan Horn,, "Foundation led by Councilman Jeff Pastor gave Cincinnati churches $310K in election year," 26 June 2019 Twelve Johnson County churches convert classrooms to bedrooms one week at a time and can serve up to five unaccompanied female guests at a time, as well as families. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Correx JOCO homeless," 2 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'church.' 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 church


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for church

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately from Late Greek kyriakon, from Greek, neuter of kyriakos of the lord, from kyrios lord, master; akin to Sanskrit śūra hero, warrior

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Time Traveler for church

Time Traveler

The first known use of church was before the 12th century

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Statistics for church

Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Church.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for church


How to pronounce Church (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of church

: a building that is used for Christian religious services
: religious services held in a church
: a particular Christian group


\ ˈchərch How to pronounce church (audio) \

Kids Definition of church

1 : a building for public worship and especially Christian worship
2 often capitalized : an organized body of religious believers What church do you belong to?
3 : public worship I'm going to church.

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