catholic

1 of 2

adjective

cath·​o·​lic ˈkath-lik How to pronounce catholic (audio)
ˈka-thə-
1
a
capitalized : roman catholic
Her son goes to a Catholic school.
b
often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the church universal
c
often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the ancient undivided Christian church or a church claiming historical continuity from it
2
: comprehensive, universal
especially : broad in sympathies, tastes, or interests
a catholic taste in music
catholically adverb
catholicize verb

Catholic

2 of 2

noun

Cath·​o·​lic ˈkath-lik How to pronounce Catholic (audio)
ˈka-thə-
1
: a member of a Catholic church
especially : roman catholic
2
: a person who belongs to the universal Christian church

Example Sentences

Adjective She is a novelist who is catholic in her interests. a museum director with catholic tastes in art
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The opponents received the bulk of their money from Right to Life Michigan and the state's catholic conference. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, 29 Oct. 2022 Godard, along with his friends and colleagues François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, and Éric Rohmer (who was also the group’s elder statesman) shared a catholic love of movies. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2022 But his photography is at the heart of his catholic creativity. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 The wine list, overseen by Nicolas Corão and sommelier Manoel Beato, is catholic in its international offerings, though most proudly Italian. John Mariani, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 There are the more organic but equally taxing speakeasy-style bacchanals, where, as the night progresses, a more and more catholic range of vices begins to emerge from pockets and back rooms. Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2022 Our intent was to be as catholic and creative in our selections as possible, highlighting items both rarefied and workaday that represent the city’s innumerable styles of international cuisine. New York Times, 17 Dec. 2021 Black authors are carrying us into bird sanctuaries, catholic mass pews, sweeping tropical graveyards, locker room huddles, ship bows, and the hollows of suburbia this season. Admin, Essence, 7 Jan. 2022 Proof of Churchill’s catholic taste, and also of the appeal, beyond political categories, of Wells’s imagination. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catholic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English catholik, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French catholique, from Late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos universal, general, from katholou in general, from kata by + holos whole — more at cata-, safe

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near catholic

Cite this Entry

“Catholic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catholic. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

catholic 1 of 2

adjective

cath·​o·​lic ˈkath-(ə-)lik How to pronounce catholic (audio)
1
capitalized
a
: of or relating to the Christian church as a whole
2
: broad in sympathies, tastes, or interests
a catholic taste in music
Catholicism
kə-ˈthäl-ə-ˌsiz-əm
noun

Catholic

2 of 2

noun

1
2
: a member of the Roman Catholic church

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