Definition of encyclical in English:


Line breaks: en|cyc¦lic¦al
Pronunciation: /ɛnˈsɪklɪk(ə)l
, ɪn-, -ˈsʌɪk-/


  • A papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.
    More example sentences
    • For the next hundred years, scholars, theologians, and students will be pouring over the papal encyclicals that have come out of the Vatican.
    • Still, he relies exclusively on the magisterial expressions found in the new catechism and in papal encyclicals.
    • At that time, English Catholic school children studied the papal encyclicals Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno.


mid 17th century (as an adjective): via late Latin from Greek enkuklios 'circular, general', from en- 'in' + kuklos 'a circle'.

More definitions of encyclical

Definition of encyclical in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea