\ 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 But one volunteer at a Virginia church saw such ads, clicked on them and bought masks. Shira Ovide, New York Times, "The Joys of Fixing Your Own Stuff," 14 May 2020 However, in a video posted on the venue's Facebook page on Wednesday, TempleLive vice president Michael Brown appeared defiant, asking the difference between a gathering at his venue and one at a church. Paul P. Murphy, CNN, "Arkansas health officials tell venue to cancel its concert, issue cease-and-desist order," 14 May 2020 Take, for instance, the now infamous Skagit Valley Chorale practice, on March 10th, at a church in Washington State. Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, "Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reëntry," 13 May 2020 Her daughters volunteer at horse therapy and her son volunteers at church. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Even the coronavirus pandemic can't stop this Cedarburg woman's Kindness Countdown," 12 May 2020 Rose Haven, housed at the church but not affiliated with its ministry, used to allow women to come inside and hang out for most of the day, but social distancing protocols have moved their operations outside and reduced the hours to 9 a.m. to noon. oregonlive, "Domestic violence services remain open, but many struggle to get help as need increases during coronavirus," 9 May 2020 Juan Molina, the interim pastor, at the church’s two masses that were live streamed in English and Spanish on Sunday. Marina Starleaf Riker,, "Helotes pastor placed on leave after sexual misconduct allegations arise," 7 May 2020 The quad, the mall and bad fashion choices also belonged to us, no matter if our parents prayed to Ganesh, toward Mecca, in a temple or at a church. Los Angeles Times, "‘Never Have I Ever’ is the L.A. immigrant tale I never thought I’d see on TV: My own," 6 May 2020 Anywhere from 250 to 500 people can worship at the church. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "'A control group,': Why Indiana's places of worship can resume in-person services Friday," 4 May 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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Church.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 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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