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Definition of catechism

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cat·e·chism  audio  (kt-kzm) KEY 

  1. A book giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form.
  2. A manual giving basic instruction in a subject, usually by rote or repetition.
  3. 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).
  4. A close questioning or examination, as of a political figure.

French catechisme, from Old French, from Late Latin catchismus, from Late Greek katkhismos, from katkhizein, to teach by word of mouth ; see catechize

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