Definition of catechism in English:


Line breaks: cat¦ech|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈkatɪkɪz(ə)m


  • 1A summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for religious instruction.
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    • Question 64 of the catechism states that the mission of the church is to extend mercy and forgiveness to ‘the needy’ in ways that point to Christ.
    • As I compare my evolutionary account of Original Sin with the catechism's exposition, I see a fairly good fit.
    • The catechism explains that Original Sin ensures that each human being, as a descendant of Adam and Eve, inherits ‘a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice.’
  • 1.1(In Roman Catholic use) religious instruction in general.
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    • Early in his first premiership, Francesco Crispi changed an 1859 compulsory education law mandating that students take lessons in Scripture and catechism.
    • Psalm-singing, catechism and Scripture were taught daily in school.
    • Music was perhaps his best subject and he was awarded the school prize in catechism and good conduct almost every year.
  • 1.2A series of fixed questions, answers, or precepts used for instruction: the preventive health catechism ‘more exercise, less tobacco and alcohol, and better diet’
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    • I ended that address with a little catechism for Catholic writers: Question 1: What is the duty of the Catholic novelist?
    • Almost every morning for the past five years, she has been leading close to 500 children in a rousing, outdoor catechism about education.



Pronunciation: /-ˈkɪzm(ə)l/
More example sentences
  • The catechismal teaching that taking a life, even an unborn one, is wrong may polarise people into two distinct camps, but it does not encourage the taking of lives (ready-formed ones).
  • The catechismal school dealt more with Catholicism than reading, writing and arithmetic.
  • The Heidelberg Catechism follows this tradition of catechismal instruction and discusses the Apostles’ Creed in questions 22-58.


early 16th century: from ecclesiastical Latin catechismus, from ecclesiastical Greek, from katēkhizein (see catechize).

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