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Syllabification: cath·o·lic
Pronunciation: /ˈkaTH(ə)lik

Definition of catholic in English:


1(Especially of a person’s tastes) including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.
Example sentences
  • Anyway, as you can see my musical tastes are somewhere on the eclectic / catholic continuum.
  • The truly curious in the seventeenth century had catholic and eclectic collecting tastes.
  • Conversation was animated and catholic, touching on a wide range of subjects.
2 (Catholic) Of the Roman Catholic faith.
Example sentences
  • The two principles that guided his life and career were a deep Catholic faith and Catalan nationalism.
  • Believing in the authenticity of such apparitions is not even a requirement of Catholic faith.
  • Since 1854, the immaculate conception has been an essential dogma of the Catholic faith.
2.1Of or including all Christians.
Example sentences
  • To the extent this is true, it is a betrayal of the universal and catholic mission of Orthodoxy.
2.2Of or relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church.
Example sentences
  • One reason, no doubt, was the Oxford Movement and its revival of Catholic practice.
  • Actually they seem to argue more accurately for certain heresies than they do for the Catholic doctrines.
  • Moreover, far from being a heretic, he loyally endorsed the essentials of Catholic doctrine.


(Catholic) Back to top  
A member of the Roman Catholic Church.
Example sentences
  • Under the law of the church, remarried Catholics are prohibited from communion.
  • In such a church, no one could seriously hope to control what Catholics read and hear.
  • Traditionally, Catholics see their church as partner of the state, not part of it.


late Middle English (sense 2 of the adjective): from Old French catholique or late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos 'universal', from kata 'with respect to' + holos 'whole'.

  • This comes via Latin from Greek katholikos ‘universal’, with base elements kata ‘in respect of ’ and holos ‘whole’. The general sense is ‘all-embracing’.



Pronunciation: /ˌkaTH(ə)ˈlisətē/
Example sentences
  • The breadth of catholicity that marked the magisterial reformers has often been lost sight of in the vain attempt to narrow the reformed faith into one doctrinal and ecclesiological expression.
  • How can one determine the extent of Luther's catholicity without first defining the norms according to which one would render judgment?
  • Her catholicity is mirrored in the scope of the works commissioned from her, ranging from a string quartet for the Tokyo Quartet to a concerto for the violist Paul Neubauer.

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