\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for church

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The church is planning a webcast celebration to honor them and all of Oak Grove’s members who are 80 or older on Oct. 11. James Walsh Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "At 100, Bloomington scratchboarding artist keeps his hands busy," 9 Oct. 2020 Officers with the Mountain Home Police Department responded Friday morning to a stabbing call and found the victim on the ground at a pavilion behind the church, the affidavit states. Arkansas Online, "Mountain Home woman, 25, accused of stabbing boyfriend over broken headphones," 9 Oct. 2020 The secretary also referred to former Pope John Paul II's opposition to the Soviet Union and other communist regimes during the Cold War when contrasting the church's silence on China. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'We need them on the world stage': Mike Pompeo urges Vatican to condemn China's alleged abuses," 9 Oct. 2020 Health officials said anyone who attended events associated with the church since Sept. 19 should seek testing. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Post-COVID partying, therapy dogs, rising hospitalizations: News from around our 50 states," 9 Oct. 2020 The church also relayed good news about the 66-year-old Gong and his wife, Susan. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "LDS Church President Russell Nelson, other top leaders test negative for COVID-19; apostle Gong recovering at home," 8 Oct. 2020 But the church won’t say if Hagee’s close contacts are being traced., "Express Briefing: Additional flights cut, workers furloughed at S.A. airport," 7 Oct. 2020 The northwest Houston area church has celebrated the Thanksgiving event in person the past 10 years but amid the COVID-19 pandemic will instead invite the first 500 people to receive a Thanksgiving meal via curbside pickup. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Kinsmen Lutheran Church to give away meals by curbside pickup on Thanksgiving Day," 7 Oct. 2020 And in 2018 alone, the church received 449 reports of abuse, many of them involving child pornography. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Church of England’s Culture Fostered Sex Abuse, Report Finds," 7 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about church

Time Traveler for church

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for church

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on church

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!