from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A book giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form.
  • n. A manual giving basic instruction in a subject, usually by rote or repetition.
  • n. A body of fundamental principles or beliefs, especially when accepted uncritically: "the core of the catechism of the antinuclear left, the notion that the threat to peace is technological, not political” ( George F. Will).
  • n. A close questioning or examination, as of a political figure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A book, in question and answer form, summarizing the basic principles of Christianity.
  • n. A basic manual in some subject.
  • n. A set of questions designed to determine knowledge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A form of instruction by means of questions and answers.
  • n. A book containing a summary of principles, especially of religious doctrine, reduced to the form of questions and answers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A form of instruction by means of questions and answers, particularly in the principles of religion.
  • n. An elementary book containing a summary of principles in any science or art, but especially in religion, reduced to the form of questions and answers, and sometimes with notes, explanations, and references to authorities.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an elementary book summarizing the principles of a Christian religion; written as questions and answers
  • n. a series of question put to an individual (such as a political candidate) to elicit their views


French catechisme, from Old French, from Late Latin catēchismus, from Late Greek katēkhismos, from katēkhizein, to teach by word of mouth; see catechize.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin catechismus, from Ancient Greek *κατηχισμός ("katēkhismos"), from κατηχίζω (katēkhizō, "to catechize"), a later extended form of κατηχέω (katēkheō, "to catechize, instruct, teach by word of mouth"), from κατά (kata, "down") + ἠχέω (ēkheō, "to sound, to resound"). (Wiktionary)



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  • specifically, the M-W definition

    March 10, 2011