di·​o·​cese | \ ˈdī-ə-səs How to pronounce diocese (audio) , -ˌsēs, -ˌsēz \
plural dioceses\ ˈdī-​ə-​sə-​səz How to pronounce dioceses (audio) , -​ˌsē-​zəz , nonstandard  ˈdī-​ə-​ˌsēz \

Definition of diocese

: the territorial jurisdiction of a bishop

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Other Words from diocese

diocesan \ dī-​ˈä-​sə-​sən How to pronounce diocesan (audio) also  ˈdī-​ə-​ˌsē-​sᵊn \ adjective

Examples of diocese in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vocations to the priesthood, meanwhile, which are falling across all mainline churches, have all but disappeared in many Catholic dioceses. The Economist, "Sunday slump The virus is accelerating dechurching in America," 23 May 2020 As Rome begins to reopen its churches, and states across the U.S. start easing stay-at-home restrictions, Catholic dioceses are beginning to release guidelines for moving forward, including the Archdiocese of Detroit. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Detroit priest uses squirt gun to spray holy water on parishioners as they socially distance," 18 May 2020 Indiana bishops, including Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis indicated in a statement that the five Catholic dioceses of the Province of Indianapolis will begin public liturgies on May 30. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Indiana churches are opening this week despite the coronavirus pandemic," 8 May 2020 New Mexico Albuquerque: The state’s largest Catholic diocese has filed a complaint against the U.S. Small Business Administration over its inability to apply for federal aid meant to help businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. USA TODAY, "Turtle Derby, cleaner subways, Zoom meeting hacked: News from around our 50 states," 2 May 2020 On Friday, March 13, both New York’s Roman Catholic diocese and Success Academy charter schools, the city’s largest charter network, decided to move to online learning. Zachary Evans, National Review, "What the Delayed Coronavirus School Shutdown Reveals about New York City," 23 Apr. 2020 The vast majority of the nation’s houses of worship, including most Catholic dioceses and Evangelical Protestant congregations, have already stopped meeting in person, according to a March survey by the American Enterprise Institute. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "Prayer services during a pandemic: Why some churches stay open," 6 Apr. 2020 Amid growing concerns over the virus, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Catholic dioceses across the state have suspended public Mass in the coming weeks. Haley Bemiller, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Republican state senator asks Gov. Tony Evers to ease ban on mass gatherings so people can go to church," 18 Mar. 2020 Colorado’s attorney general’s office reached an agreement with three dioceses — Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs — to open up their internal records for investigation. Megan Schrader, The Denver Post, "Schrader: Report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse leaves a big question unanswered," 8 Nov. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diocese

Middle English diocise, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin diocesis, alteration of dioecesis, from Latin, administrative division, from Greek dioikēsis administration, administrative division, from dioikein to keep house, govern, from dia- + oikein to dwell, manage, from oikos house — more at vicinity

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Time Traveler for diocese

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for diocese

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diocese.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diocese. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for diocese


How to pronounce diocese (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of diocese

: the area that is controlled by a bishop in a Christian church


di·​o·​cese | \ ˈdī-ə-səs How to pronounce diocese (audio) , -ˌsēz \

Kids Definition of diocese

: the area that is under the authority of a bishop

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More from Merriam-Webster on diocese

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with diocese

Spanish Central: Translation of diocese

Nglish: Translation of diocese for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diocese

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