What does Catholic mean?

Definitions for Catholic
ˈkæθ ə lɪk, ˈkæθ lɪkcatholic

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Catholic.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Catholicadjective

    a member of a Catholic church

  2. Catholicadjective

    of or relating to or supporting Catholicism

    "the Catholic Church"

  3. catholicadjective

    free from provincial prejudices or attachments

    "catholic in one's tastes"


  1. catholicadjective

    Universal; all-encompassing.

    Christmas is celebrated at different dates in the Catholic and Orthodox calendars.

  2. catholicadjective

    Pertaining to all kinds of people and their range of tastes, proclivities etc.

    The Church of the Sacred Heart is a Catholic one.

  3. Catholicnoun

    A member of a Catholic church.

    The wife of the Prime Minister is a Catholic.

  4. Catholicadjective

    Of the Western Christian church, as opposed to the Orthodox church.

    Christmas is celebrated at different dates in the Catholic and Orthodox calendars.

  5. Catholicadjective

    Of the Roman Catholic church.

    The Church of the Sacred Heart is a Catholic one.

  6. Etymology: From καθολικός, from κατά + ὅλος


  1. Catholic

    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide as of 2019. It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of 24 sui iuris churches, including the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, which comprise almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies located around the world. The pope, who is the bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor of the church. The bishopric of Rome, known as the Holy See, is the central governing authority of the church. The administrative body of the Holy See, the Roman Curia, has its principal offices in Vatican City, a small enclave of the Italian city of Rome, of which the pope is head of state. The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith taught by the apostles, preserving the faith infallibly through scripture and sacred tradition as authentically interpreted through the magisterium of the church. The Roman Rite and others of the Latin Church, the Eastern Catholic liturgies, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.Of its seven sacraments, the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated as the Perpetual Virgin, Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven; she is honoured in dogmas and devotions. Catholic social teaching emphasizes voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church operates thousands of Catholic schools, universities and colleges, hospitals, and orphanages around the world, and is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organizations. The Catholic Church has profoundly influenced Western philosophy, culture, art, music and science. Catholics live all over the world through missions, diaspora, and conversions. Since the 20th century, the majority have resided in the Southern Hemisphere, partially due to secularization in Europe and increased persecution in the Middle East. The Catholic Church shared communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, disputing particularly the authority of the pope. Before the Council of Ephesus in AD 431, the Church of the East also shared in this communion, as did the Oriental Orthodox Churches before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451; all separated primarily over differences in Christology. The Eastern Catholic Churches, who have a combined membership of approximately 18 million, represent a body of Eastern Christians who returned or remained in communion with the pope during or following these schisms for a variety of historical circumstances. In the 16th century, the Reformation led to Protestantism also breaking away. From the late 20th century, the Catholic Church has been criticized for its teachings on sexuality, its doctrine against ordaining women, and its handling of sexual abuse cases involving clergy.


  1. catholic

    Catholic, often referred to as Roman Catholic, is a term used to describe people, institutions, or beliefs associated with the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the pope and follows a set of doctrines and practices originating from the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is notably characterized by its sacraments, liturgical worship, and adherence to the Apostolic Succession. An important doctrine is the belief in the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The term "Catholic" can also be used generally to signify universality or whole. In Christian theology, it sometimes refers to the universal church of Christ.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Catholicadjective

    universal or general; as, the catholic faith

  2. Catholicadjective

    not narrow-minded, partial, or bigoted; liberal; as, catholic tastes

  3. Catholicadjective

    of or pertaining to, or affecting the Roman Catholics; as, the Catholic emancipation act

  4. Catholicnoun

    a person who accepts the creeds which are received in common by all parts of the orthodox Christian church

  5. Catholicnoun

    an adherent of the Roman Catholic church; a Roman Catholic

  6. Etymology: [L. catholicus, Gr. kaqoliko`s, universal, general; kata` down, wholly + "o`los whole, probably akin to E. solid: cf. F. catholique.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Catholic

    kath′ol-ik, adj. universal: general, embracing the whole body of Christians: orthodox, as opposed to heterodox and sectarian—applied esp. to the Christian Church before the great schism between the East and the West: liberal, the opposite of exclusive: relating to the name claimed by its adherents for the Church of Rome as the alleged sole visible representative of the church founded by Christ and His apostles—the characteristic marks of the Catholic Church being universality, antiquity, unity: relating to the Roman Catholics.—n. an adherent of the R.C. Church.—v.t. Cathol′icise, to make Catholic.—ns. Cathol′icism, Catholic′ity, universality: liberality or breadth of view: the tenets of the R.C. Church; Cathol′icon, a universal remedy or panacea; Cathol′icos, the Patriarch of Armenia.—Catholic creditor (law of Scot.), one whose debt is secured over several or the whole subjects belonging to the debtor—e.g. over two or more heritable estates; Catholic emancipation, the relief of the Roman Catholics from certain vexatious penal regulations and restrictions, granted in 1829; Catholic or General epistles, the name given to certain epistles in the canon addressed not to particular churches or individuals, but either to the Church universal or to a large and indefinite circle of readers—originally only 1 John and 1 Peter, but, as early as the 3d century, also James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John; Catholic king, a title given specially to the king of Spain.—Old Catholics, the title assumed by a number of Catholics who at Munich protested against the new dogma of the personal infallibility of the pope in all ex cathedrâ deliverances proclaimed by the Vatican Council in 1870—now a considerable communion or church in Germany and Switzerland. [Gr. katholicos, universal—kata, throughout, holos, the whole.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Catholic is ranked #160975 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Catholic surname appeared 100 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Catholic.

    92% or 92 total occurrences were Black.
    5% or 5 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Catholic' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3042

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Catholic' in Nouns Frequency: #2307

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Catholic' in Adjectives Frequency: #419

How to pronounce Catholic?

How to say Catholic in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Catholic in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Catholic in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of Catholic in a Sentence

  1. Sunny Hostin:

    When you have a Mike Pence who now puts this religious veneer on things and who calls people values voters, I think we're in a dangerous situation. Look I'm Catholic. I'm a faithful person, but I don’t know that I want my vice president, um -- speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.

  2. Sister Donna Markham:

    I certainly knew I wasn't selected to be president of Catholic Charities because I was a woman. I think I was asked to do it because people trusted my ability, now, is it thrilling to me that, in this day and age, we can see the page turn a bit and see women called to exercise leadership in our church in some very important ways? That is thrilling to me. But, I stand with other women who do that. Not just Catholic Charities.

  3. Pope Francis:

    They stole the most sacred thing I had, and Roman Catholic Church was my Roman Catholic Church.

  4. Stephen Fry:

    This year, the stars have colluded and collided in such a way to make the BAFTAs coincide with Valentine's Day, love between two women, love between roman catholic priests ... and... their lawyers.

  5. Tulsi Gabbard:

    I was raised in a very socially conservative home. My father is Catholic, he was a leading voice against gay marriage in Hawaii at that time. Again, I was very young, but these are the values and beliefs that I grew up around.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Catholic

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Catholic." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Catholic>.

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    a scar where the umbilical cord was attached
    A swathing
    B nidus
    C omphalos
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