church, churches

(Greek: Lord's house)

From Old English cirice, "church", from West Germanic kirika, from Greek kyriake (oikia), "Lord's (house)"; from kyrios, "ruler, lord". Greek kyriakon "of the Lord" referred to houses of Christian worship since about 300 A.D.; especially, in the East, although it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike.

An example of the direct Greek-to-Germanic progress of many Christian words, via the Goths; it was probably used by West Germanic people in their pre-Christian period. Also picked up by Slavic, via Germanic; as seen in Old Slavic criky, Russian cerkov. Romance and Celtic languages use variants of Latin ecclesia.

church (s), churches (pl)
1. A building for public Christian worship.
2. The public worship of God or a religious service in such a building.
3. When capitalized, the whole body of Christian believers; Christendom.
4. Sometimes capitalized: any division of this body professing the same creed and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a Christian denomination: Methodist Church; Catholic Church, etc.
5. That part of the whole Christian body, or of a particular denomination, belonging to the same city, country, nation, etc.
6. A group of Christians worshipping in a particular building or constituting one congregation.
7. An ecclesiastical organization, power, and affairs, as distinguished from the state or secular government.
8. The clergy and religious officials of a Christian denomination.
The institution, government, or authority of a church.
Someone who attends church; especially, on a regular basis.
To deprive of status as a church, or of membership in a church.
electronic church
In the U.S., religious television programs of a church or evangelistic service designed for mass audiences, usually conducted by preachers of great personal appeal.
Occurring between or among or common to different churches or denominations; interdenominational.
1. To deprive (a congregation, sect, or building) of the status of a church.
2. To expel, or cause to separate, from a church; to excommunicate.
1. Not belonging to or participating in a church.
2. Not being a member of a church; not attending any church.

Related religious-word units: dei-, div-; ecclesi-; fanati-; hiero-; idol-; -olatry; theo-; zelo-.