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Catholic

[kath-uh-lik, kath-lik] /ˈkæθ ə lɪk, ˈkæθ lɪk/
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to a Catholic church, especially the Roman Catholic Church.
2.
Theology.
  1. (among Roman Catholics) claiming to possess exclusively the notes or characteristics of the one, only, true, and universal church having unity, visibility, indefectibility, apostolic succession, universality, and sanctity: used in this sense, with these qualifications, only by the Church of Rome, as applicable only to itself and its adherents and to their faith and organization; often qualified, especially by those not acknowledging these claims, by prefixing the word Roman.
  2. (among Anglo-Catholics) noting or pertaining to the conception of the church as the body representing the ancient undivided Christian witness, comprising all the orthodox churches that have kept the apostolic succession of bishops, and including the Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Church of Sweden, the Old Catholic Church (in the Netherlands and elsewhere), etc.
3.
pertaining to the Western Church.
noun
4.
a member of a Catholic church, especially of the Roman Catholic Church.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English; special uses of catholic
Related forms
anti-Catholic, adjective, noun
non-Catholic, adjective, noun
pro-Catholic, adjective, noun
pseudo-Catholic, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for catholics

catholic

/ˈkæθəlɪk; ˈkæθlɪk/
adjective
1.
universal; relating to all men; all-inclusive
2.
comprehensive in interests, tastes, etc; broad-minded; liberal
Derived Forms
catholically, catholicly (kəˈθɒlɪklɪ) adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos universal, from katholou in general, from kata- according to + holos whole

Catholic

/ˈkæθəlɪk; ˈkæθlɪk/
adjective (Christianity)
1.
denoting or relating to the entire body of Christians, esp to the Church before separation into the Greek or Eastern and Latin or Western Churches
2.
denoting or relating to the Latin or Western Church after this separation
3.
denoting or relating to the Roman Catholic Church
4.
denoting or relating to any church, belief, etc, that claims continuity with or originates in the ancient undivided Church
noun
5.
a member of any of the Churches regarded as Catholic, esp the Roman Catholic Church
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for catholics

catholic

adj.

mid-14c., "of the doctrines of the ancient Church," literally "universally accepted," from French catholique, from Church Latin catholicus "universal, general," from Greek katholikos, from phrase kath' holou "on the whole, in general," from kata "about" + genitive of holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)). Applied to the Church in Rome c.1554, after the Reformation began. General sense of "of interest to all, universal" is from 1550s.

Catholic

n.

"member of the Roman Catholic church," 1560s, from Catholic (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for catholics

Catholic

Related Terms

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The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for catholics

catholic

(from Greek katholikos, "universal"), the characteristic that, according to ecclesiastical writers since the 2nd century, distinguished the Christian Church at large from local communities or from heretical and schismatic sects. A notable exposition of the term as it had developed during the first three centuries of Christianity was given by St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catecheses (348): the church is called catholic on the ground of its worldwide extension, its doctrinal completeness, its adaptation to the needs of men of every kind, and its moral and spiritual perfection.

Learn more about catholic with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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