1 of 3


: a building for public and especially Christian worship
: 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
often capitalized : a body or organization of religious believers: such as
: the whole body of Christians
the one church is the whole body gathered together from all ages J. H. Newman
: denomination
the Presbyterian church
: congregation
they had appointed elders for them in every church Acts 14:23 (Revised Standard Version)
: a public divine worship
goes to church every Sunday
: the clerical profession
considered the church as a possible career


2 of 3


: of or relating to a church
church government
chiefly British : of or relating to the established church


3 of 3


churched; churching; churches

transitive verb

: to bring to church to receive one of its rites

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Not far from the town hall, and across the plaza from the church, is the Interpretation Center of Witchcraft, on the top floor of a two-story house. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Dec. 2022 Medics frantically worked to save Hutchins and Souza, who lay on the floor of the old wooden church bleeding profusely. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 Also Wednesday, the historic commission went along with a plan for a new four-story, 53-unit affordable housing building at 10201 Woodward Ave., across from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament church. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 17 Nov. 2022 All of the answers refer to books in the Bible that are collections of epistles, or letters, ostensibly from Jesus’ apostle Paul to different groups in the formative days of the Christian church. Aj Willingham, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 Religious exemptions are necessary when there is a separation of church & state. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 Four years later, residents from a neighboring community, known then as Willow Dell, began integrating into Senoia and the first buildings (a mercantile factory and a Methodist Episcopal church led by Baggarly), were erected in Senoia. Declan Gallagher,, 17 Nov. 2022 Pfleger supporters at the news conference also said that his absence has halted the church from hosting and carrying on annual community service events that benefit those most in need during the holidays. Laura Rodríguez Presa, Chicago Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 Long-time Medina real estate agent Jim Gerspacher, who helped the Klauses find and purchase the Medina church and adjacent buildings, said people always worry about what is unfamiliar. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 17 Nov. 2022
Bateman listed a mailing address in Colorado City, where a patchwork of devout members of the polygamous FLDS, ex-church members and those who don’t practice the beliefs live. Fox News, 16 Sep. 2022 Jessop returned and began working with the Short Creek Community Alliance, which advocates for voter registration, political engagement and the interests of non-church members. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 During a post-church service lunch banquet at around 1:30 p.m. Joe Walsh, Forbes, 16 May 2022 Although cross-church collaborations are infrequent, Motley jumped at the opportunity to help out Ukrainians. Emma Stein, Detroit Free Press, 24 Mar. 2022 The president made a post-church bagel stop at the Georgetown branch of the Call Your Mother deli in January, which could be seen as a gesture of support for struggling small businesses. Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2021 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
Could church leaders somehow sense the divine feminine reawakening? Cassady Rosenblum, Rolling Stone, 28 June 2022 Could church leaders do a better job of helping people feel more comfortable in their bodies? The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 June 2022 In addition, his friend, John Vino, takes him to church several times a week and out to lunch. Deirdre Reilly, Fox News, 15 Feb. 2022 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 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use


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

Time Traveler
The first known use of church was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near church

Cite this Entry

“Church.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



: a building for public worship and especially Christian worship
often capitalized : an organized body of religious believers
: public worship

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Frederic Edwin 1826–1900 American painter

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