Meaning of “church” in the English Dictionary

"church" in British English

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uk /tʃɜːtʃ/ us /tʃɝːtʃ/

church noun (BUILDING)

A2 [ C ] a building for Christian religious activities:

The town has four churches.
a church spire/tower
a church hall (= a building belonging to a church, with a large room for meetings)

More examples

  • They built the church on the edge of the village.
  • In many churches the side aisles are separated from the central aisle by a row of arches.
  • The bride and groom posed for pictures outside the church.
  • Do you know the way to St Peter's Church?
  • I found her kneeling in prayer at the back of the church.

church noun (ORGANIZATION)

[ C or U ] an official Christian religious organization:

All the local churches were represented at the memorial service.
He went on a walking trip with some of his friends from church.

[ U ] an occasion when this organization meets as a group of people:

I'll see her after church.
They go to church every Sunday.
church services
the Church [ S ]

Christian religious organizations:

Some people think the Church shouldn't interfere in politics.

More examples

  • In Britain, the Queen is the head of the established church.
  • The church has strongly condemned the violence.
  • Instead of defending traditional values, the church frequently seems weak-kneed and irresolute.
  • The church accused him of impiety and had all his writings burned.
  • We joined the Methodist/Anglican/Roman Catholic Church in 1975.

(Definition of “church” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"church" in American English

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us /tʃɜrtʃ/

church noun (BUILDING)

[ C ] a building for Christian religious activities:

We came to a church and went inside to sit and enjoy the quiet.

church noun (ORGANIZATION)

[ C/U ] a Christian religious organization:

[ U ] He went on a trip with some of his friends from church.

[ C/U ] Church is also a group of people meeting for a religious gathering:

[ U ] I’ll see you after church.

[ C/U ] A church is also one of the larger divisions within Christianity:

[ C ] The Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches have many similarities.

[ C/U ] Church can also mean organized religion generally:

[ U ] The separation of church and state is an important feature of the US Constitution.

(Definition of “church” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)