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[ek-yoo-men-i-kuh l or, esp. British, ee-kyoo-] /ˈɛk yʊˈmɛn ɪ kəl or, esp. British, ˈi kyʊ-/
general; universal.
pertaining to the whole Christian church.
promoting or fostering Christian unity throughout the world.
of or relating to a movement (ecumenical movement) especially among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at achieving universal Christian unity and church union through international interdenominational organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual concern.
interreligious or interdenominational:
an ecumenical marriage.
including or containing a mixture of diverse elements or styles; mixed:
an ecumenical meal of German, Italian, and Chinese dishes.
Also, ecumenic, oecumenical, oecumenic.
Origin of ecumenical
1835-45; < Late Latin oecumenicus belonging to the whole inhabited world (< Greek oikoumenikós, equivalent to oikoumen- (stem of passive present participle of oikeîn to inhabit) + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related forms
ecumenically, adverb
nonecumenic, adjective
nonecumenical, adjective
nonoecumenic, adjective
unoecumenic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ecumenical
  • The Pope's ecumenical mission leaves an incredible mixture of lasting impressions on those who followed him .
  • The ecumenical council decreed woman no longer had to wear hats in church.
  • I'm fairly "conservative" but also very ecumenical.
  • He has long espoused ecumenical and peace movements.
  • He is ecumenical and opinionated, practical and quite idealistic, a cheery defender of his own causes.
  • He also embraced a broader, more ecumenical audience.
  • Chanting Buddhist monks were to light incense and lead an ecumenical prayer service.
  • My deep study of our 40th president reveals an ecumenical man for whom God actually played a leading role.
  • Benedict is to hold an ecumenical prayer service shortly after arriving.
  • He also participated in national and international ecumenical organizations.
British Dictionary definitions for ecumenical


/ˌiːkjʊˈmɛnɪkəl; ˌɛk-/
of or relating to the Christian Church throughout the world, esp with regard to its unity
  1. tending to promote unity among Churches
  2. of or relating to the international movement initiated among non-Catholic Churches in 1910 aimed at Christian unity: embodied, since 1937, in the World Council of Churches
(rare) universal; general; worldwide
Derived Forms
ecumenically, oecumenically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Late Latin from Greek oikoumenikos, from oikein to inhabit, from oikos house
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 ecumenical

late 16c., "representing the entire (Christian) world," formed in English as an ecclesiastical word, from Late Latin oecumenicus "general, universal," from Greek oikoumenikos, from he oikoumene ge "the inhabited world (as known to the ancient Greeks); the Greeks and their neighbors considered as developed human society," from oikoumenos, present passive participle of oikein "inhabit," from oikos "house, habitation" (see villa).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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