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[kat-i-kiz-uh m] /ˈkæt ɪˌkɪz əm/
  1. an elementary book containing a summary of the principles of the Christian religion, especially as maintained by a particular church, in the form of questions and answers.
  2. the contents of such a book.
a similar book of instruction in other subjects.
a series of formal questions put, as to political candidates, to bring out their views.
catechetical instruction.
Origin of catechism
1495-1505; < Late Latin catēchismus apparently equivalent to catēch(izāre) to catechize + -ismus -ism
Related forms
catechismal, adjective
Can be confused
cataclysm, catechism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for catechism
  • He had fashioned his catechism in the form of a novel which, though slight in bulk, is of a fine and satisfying workmanship.
  • At the same time a whole catechism of thought crime has been deployed to stop real discussion.
  • Pearl as a narrator, catechism as a form of dialogue and the placing of hands on breasts as a means of defining relationships.
  • There is neither an encyclical nor a catechism that spells out a political strategy for achieving legislative goals.
  • To write with an agenda, the writer reflects only the writer and relentlessly shows only that, and is as boring as a catechism.
  • At five years of age he recited every day on his knees the chief parts of the catechism.
  • This version of the catechism is available on audio cdrom as well.
  • The catechism is organized on the topics of faith, law, prayer and sacraments.
British Dictionary definitions for catechism


instruction by a series of questions and answers, esp a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian Church
rigorous and persistent questioning, as in a test or interview
Derived Forms
catechismal, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin catēchismus, ultimately from Greek katēkhizein to catechize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for catechism

c.1500, "instruction in Christian principles," also "elementary question-and-answer book of religious instruction," from French catéchisme (14c.) and directly from Church Latin catechismus "book of instruction," from Greek katekhismos, from katekhizein "to teach orally" (see catechize). Related: Catechismal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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