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encyclical

[en-sik-li-kuh l, -sahy-kli-] /ɛnˈsɪk lɪ kəl, -ˈsaɪ klɪ-/
noun
1.
Roman Catholic Church. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.
adjective
2.
(of a letter) intended for wide or general circulation; general.
Also, encyclic.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < Late Latin encyclicus (< Greek enkýklios, with -icus -ic for -ios, equivalent to en- en-2 + kýkl(os) circle, cycle + -ios adj. suffix) + -al1
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for encyclic

encyclical

/ɛnˈsɪklɪkəl/
noun
1.
a letter sent by the pope to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world
adjective
2.
(of letters) intended for general or wide circulation
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin encyclicus, from Greek enkuklios general, from kuklos circle
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 encyclic

encyclical

adj.

in reference to a letter sent by the Pope to all the bishops, 1640s, from Late Latin encyclicus, from Latin encyclius, from Greek enkyklios "in a circle, circular" (see encyclopedia). As a noun, from 1837.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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encyclic in Culture
encyclical [(en-sik-li-kuhl)]

A letter from the pope to the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, in which he lays down policy on religious, moral, or political issues.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for encyclic

encyclical

pastoral letter written by the pope for the whole Roman Catholic church on matters of doctrine, morals, or discipline. Although formal papal letters for the entire church were issued from the earliest days of the church, the first commonly called an encyclical was Ubi primum, dealing with episcopal duties, published by Benedict XIV in 1740. Only from the time of Pius IX (1846-78) have encyclicals been frequently used. Encyclicals are normally addressed to the bishops of the church, but a few (notably Pacem in terris by John XXIII) have been addressed also to "all men of good will." The formal title of an encyclical consists of the first few words of the official text; the language is usually Latin, and the document is not considered to be infallible.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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