church

noun
\ˈchərch \

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

church

adjective

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

church

verb
churched; churching; churches

Definition of church (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to bring to church to receive one of its rites

Church

biographical name
\ˈchərch \

Definition of Church (Entry 4 of 4)

Frederic Edwin 1826–1900 American painter

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for church

Synonyms: Noun

kirk [chiefly Scottish], tabernacle, temple

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

This effectively creates an income tax on churches. Russell Moore, WSJ, "Stop the Tax on Houses of Worship," 22 Nov. 2018 The mail bombings were quickly followed by the murders of two Black shoppers at a Kroger in Kansas by a man who had been heard making racist remarks and had reportedly tried to enter a predominantly Black church before going to Kroger. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 Clap your hands inside an empty concert hall or church. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Cave acoustics can help sculpt more realistic sounds in digital space," 14 Nov. 2018 Brenda Kenyon, Ryan’s mother, told the paper that parents were instructed to wait at a nearby church. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Butler High School Kept Classes in Session the Day a Fatal Shooting Happened," 29 Oct. 2018 The 3,500-square-foot structure’s first known owner was John McKee before being owned by various churches through the twentieth century. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Restored brick house from 1700s asks $4M," 17 Oct. 2018 Cops said a church in Woodstock also had a similar incident. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Man arrested for alleged satanic, vulgar graffiti on Cobb churches," 11 July 2018 As footage from the BBC shows, a small group of royal bridesmaids and pageboys were walking up the stairs of the church when the gusts caused one bridesmaid and one pageboy to topple over. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Princess Charlotte and a Royal Pageboy Fell on the Way to Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Ever since the news of Selena Gomez's emotional breakdown earlier this week, he's been seen crying in public multiple times, initially on Wednesday outside of church and later, with his wife, Hailey Baldwin. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber "Doesn't Feel Whole" After Marrying Hailey Baldwin," 12 Oct. 2018

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

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 Quinn said people pulling away from he church pained him and other church leaders. Marcos Bretón, sacbee, "Awaiting death in season of renewal, Bishop Quinn reflects on life – and the secret to happiness | The Sacramento Bee," 1 Apr. 2018 The move was a safety precaution, WFMZ reported, although the church has told attendees — who church officials say are coming from around the world for the service — not to load the weapons. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, "Pennsylvania church plans a ceremony with AR-15 rifles — and a local school is getting students out of the way," 28 Feb. 2018 The move was a safety precaution, WFMZ reported, although the church has told attendees -- who church officials say are coming from around the world for the service -- not to load the weapons. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Church ceremony with AR-15 rifles leads nearby school to relocate students," 27 Feb. 2018 After the Texas massacre, many East Tennessee churches called law enforcement seeking guidance. Amy Mcrary, The Seattle Times, "After shootings, concerned congregations learn to protect," 17 Dec. 2017 More: Churches look to tighten security, even arm congregants, after Texas shooting After the Texas massacre, many East Tennessee churches called law enforcement seeking guidance. Amy Mcrary, USA TODAY, "After church shootings, concerned congregations aim to protect their flocks," 10 Dec. 2017 Today, the combined attendance of all the Shrine churches is 50,000, said Nelson. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's iconic Black Madonna: 50 years as mother of a movement," 27 Apr. 2017

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

Noun

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

Adjective

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for church

Noun

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

Adjective

see church entry 1

Verb

see church entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about church

Dictionary Entries near church

chuprassi

Chur

Churapa

church

Church

church-ale

Church Assembly

Statistics for church

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for church

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for church

church

noun

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

church

noun
\ˈchərch \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on church

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with church

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for church

Spanish Central: Translation of church

Nglish: Translation of church for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of church for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about church

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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