di·​o·​cese ˈdī-ə-səs How to pronounce diocese (audio)
plural dioceses ˈdī-ə-sə-səz How to pronounce diocese (audio)
 nonstandard  ˈdī-ə-ˌsēz
: the territorial jurisdiction of a bishop
dī-ˈä-sə-sən How to pronounce diocese (audio)
 also  ˈdī-ə-ˌsē-sᵊn

Examples of diocese in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The diocese recently unveiled plans to build a new cathedral after outgrowing the 85-year-old St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood. Joe Marusak, Charlotte Observer, 9 Apr. 2024 Beset by hundreds of abuse lawsuits, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in federal court Monday, a move designed to allow the diocese to provide settlements to plaintiffs. Sam Stanton, Sacramento Bee, 1 Apr. 2024 When asked about the civil suit, Price said the diocese cannot comment on pending litigation. Stephanie Kuzydym, The Courier-Journal, 20 Mar. 2024 Still, the diocese acknowledged citizens have an obligation to ensure national security. Kanis Leung, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Mar. 2024 The diocese announced the Pope's approval earlier this month. Claire Reid, Journal Sentinel, 26 Feb. 2024 The diocese is developing a three-story, 20,000-square-foot building at 902 N. 8th Street, which will serve as its chancery, or administrative offices. Sarah Cutler, Idaho Statesman, 8 Feb. 2024 What do the Ohio dioceses say? The Archdiocese of Cincinnati did not immediately respond to inquiries about what Catholics should expect for Feb. 14. The Enquirer, 5 Jan. 2024 Candidates for archbishop are typically a bishop at a smaller diocese, an auxiliary bishop from another archdiocese, or a prominent priest within the archdiocese. Sophie Carson, Journal Sentinel, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'diocese.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English diocise, dyoces, borrowed from Anglo-French diocise, dyocés, borrowed from Late Latin diocēsis, dioecēsis "administrative district, province, group of provinces (in the later Roman Empire), jurisdiction of a bishop" (Latin, "administrative district"), borrowed from Late Greek dioíkēsis "administration, control, ordering, civil or ecclesiastical group of provinces, jurisdiction of a bishop," going back to Greek, "management, administration," from dioikē-, variant stem of dioikéō, dioikeîn "to control, manage, look after" (from di- di- + oikeîn "to live, have one's home, order, govern," derivative of oîkos "house, home") + -sis -sis — more at vicinity

Note: In early Modern English diocise, passed on from Middle English, competed unsuccessfully with the Latin/French-influenced forms diocess and diocese. The variant diocess was predominant in the eighteenth century and is the only form entered in Samuel Johnson's dictionary (1755). The situation had changed, at least in the U.S., by the early nineteenth century: Noah Webster, in his American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), enters only diocese, and regards diocess as "a very erroneous orthography."

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of diocese was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near diocese

Cite this Entry

“Diocese.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diocese. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


di·​o·​cese ˈdī-ə-səs How to pronounce diocese (audio)
plural dioceses ˈdī-ə-ˌsēz How to pronounce diocese (audio)
: the district over which a bishop has authority

More from Merriam-Webster on diocese

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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