\ ˈchərch How to pronounce church (audio) \

Essential Meaning of church

1 : a building that is used for Christian religious services This is the oldest church in town. They would like to be married in a church.
2 : religious services held in a church They go to church [=attend church services] every Sunday. I didn't see you at/in church last Sunday.
3 : a particular Christian group He is a member of the Catholic/Baptist/Anglican Church. What church do you belong to?

Full 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 The church is located behind the rectory at 55 Charter Oak Ave., 13 Oct. 2021 Leather couches fill alcoves in the upstairs mezzanine where the church choir used to sing. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Oct. 2021 Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, a day in the fall that is often taken up by football games, church activities, or something else entirely. Tandra Smith |, al, 13 Oct. 2021 Yiannopoulous was slated to emcee the event while Bannon planned to speak about financial malfeasance by the Catholic church, Voris testified. Emily Opilo,, 1 Oct. 2021 In its first outing since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival was organized by the church in conjunction with the Three Brothers Brewing Company to raise funds for the building, which dates from around 1020. Lianne Kolirin, CNN, 27 Sep. 2021 Ulyana Sergeenko embellished her couture silhouettes with geometrical and rounded shapes inspired by the spectacular Kizhi Pogost church. Cécilia Pelloux, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Rohrer, married with two children, became one of seven LGBTQ pastors accepted by the progressive Evangelical Lutheran church in 2010. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2021 Since 1996, however, this Gilded Age mansion has been owned by a Korean church, says Kent. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The event was planned by Advance America, which identifies itself as Indiana’s largest pro-family and pro-church organization. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 22 July 2021 The building was different, the old Houston Rockets arena—the Summit, site of the 1994 NBA Finals—transformed to the mega-church campus of pastor Joel Osteen. Sean Deveney, Forbes, 24 May 2021 Despite, and because of, these absences, which seem more noticeable today, Wilson’s work feels as familiar as a backyard barbecue or a post-church family dinner. New York Times, 3 Dec. 2020 In her non-church life, Bishop Joyner enjoyed shopping, cooking, ten-pin bowling and traveling, and had visited Europe and taken an extensive road trip across the U.S. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, 14 Oct. 2020 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, 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, 8 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The girl’s grandmother, Deborah, and grandfather, Keith, took separate cars to church that day. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Oct. 2021 An otherwise conventional and so-so musical drama about two formative decades in Aretha Franklin's life gets lifted every time Hudson hits the screen, belts out a number and takes you to church as the legendary soul singer. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 12 Aug. 2021 El Paso Baptist Association volunteers deliver boxes of food to church representatives in Texas in 2020. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 11 Aug. 2021 Robertson first encountered that gospel when his Baptist neighbors invited him to church one Sunday at the age of 12. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 30 June 2021 Congregants lined up to place money in a donation box, or to hand over their credit cards to church employees with card readers. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 In 1920, a year after the Kehoes moved to Bath, he was asked by a neighbor (who drove Nellie to church every Sunday) if Kehoe had seen her missing fox terrier. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2021 Most people’s glimpses of Philip in a religious setting were of him beside the queen at commemorative services, or walking to church with the royal family on Christmas Day. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2021 That likely means that the other royals who typically accompany the Queen to church for Easter, like Prince Philip and the Cambridges, will also not be making an appearance. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 2 Apr. 2021

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

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Church.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for church


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on church

Nglish: Translation of church for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of church for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about church


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