from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A lay officer in an Anglican church, chosen annually by the parish priest or the congregation to handle secular and legal affairs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In the Anglican Church, an officer whose business it is to look after the secular affairs of the church, and who in England is the legal representative of the parish.
  • noun A long clay pipe.
  • noun A shag or cormorant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One of the officers (usually two) in an Episcopal church, whose duties vary in different dioceses, but always include the provision of what is necessary for the communion service.
  • noun Slang, Eng. A clay tobacco pipe, with a long tube.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK A lay officer of the Church of England who handles the secular affairs of the parish.
  • noun US A similar functionary of the Episcopal church.
  • noun UK, slang A churchwarden pipe.

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

  • noun an officer in the Episcopal church who helps a parish priest with secular matters


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Dog-flogging Day (October 18th)

    On this date in York, England, any dogs found in the streets were once subject to being whipped in commemoration of the 18th-century swallowing of consecrated wafers by a dog in the cathedral. Beginning in the 16th century, many English churches employed churchwardens, or beadles, who not only supervised the sometimes unruly canines that traditionally accompanied their owners to church but were often charged with keeping parishioners awaking during services.

    Edward Peacock's Glossary of Lincolnshire (1877) added, "In Northorpe Church until about seventy years ago, there was a small pew on the south side just within the charnel arch known as Hall Dog-pew, in which the dogs that had followed the author's grandfather and family to church were imprisoned during divine service."

    January 19, 2018