[en-sik-li-kuhl, -sahy-kli-]
Roman Catholic Church. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.
(of a letter) intended for wide or general circulation; general.
Also, encyclic.

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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World English Dictionary
encyclical (ɛnˈsɪklɪkəl)
1.  a letter sent by the pope to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world
2.  (of letters) intended for general or wide circulation
[C17: from Late Latin encyclicus, from Greek enkuklios general, from kuklos circle]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"letter sent by the Pope to all the bishops," 1647, from L.L. encyclicus, from L. encyclius, from Gk. enkyklios "in a circle, circular" (see encyclopedia).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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