Church (?), n. [OE. chirche,
chireche, cherche, Scot. kirk, from AS.
circe, cyrice; akin to D. kerk, Icel.
kirkja, Sw. kyrka, Dan. kirke, G.
kirche, OHG. chirihha; all fr. Gr. ? the Lord's
house, fr. ? concerning a master or lord, fr. ? master, lord,
fr. ? power, might; akin to Skr. çūra hero,
Zend. çura strong, OIr. caur, cur,
hero. Cf. Kirk.]
1. A building set apart for Christian
2. A Jewish or heathen temple.
[Obs.] Acts xix. 37.
3. A formally organized body of Christian
believers worshiping together. "When they had ordained them
elders in every church." Acts xiv. 23.
4. A body of Christian believers, holding
the same creed, observing the same rites, and acknowledging the
same ecclesiastical authority; a denomination; as, the Roman
Catholic church; the Presbyterian church.
5. The collective body of
6. Any body of worshipers; as, the Jewish
church; the church of Brahm.
7. The aggregate of religious influences
in a community; ecclesiastical influence, authority, etc.; as, to
array the power of the church against some moral
Remember that both church and state are
properly the rulers of the people, only because they are their
☞ Church is often used in composition to denote
something belonging or relating to the church; as, church
authority; church history; church member;
church music, etc.
Apostolic church. See under
Apostolic. -- Broad church. See
Broad Church. -- Catholic or
Universal church, the whole body
of believers in Christ throughout the world. --
Church of England, or English
church, the Episcopal church established and
endowed in England by law. -- Church
living, a benefice in an established church. -
- Church militant. See under
Militant. -- Church owl
(Zoöl.), the white owl. See Barn owl.
-- Church rate, a tax levied on
parishioners for the maintenance of the church and its
services. -- Church session. See under
Session. -- Church triumphant.
See under Triumphant. -- Church
work, work on, or in behalf of, a church; the work
of a particular church for the spread of religion. --
Established church, the church maintained
by the civil authority; a state church.