1. Ecclesiastical.
    1. an elementary book containing a summary of the principles of the Christian religion, especially as maintained by a particular church, in the form of questions and answers.
    2. the contents of such a book.
  2. a similar book of instruction in other subjects.
  3. a series of formal questions put, as to political candidates, to bring out their views.
  4. catechetical instruction.


  1. instruction by a series of questions and answers, esp a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian Church
  2. rigorous and persistent questioning, as in a test or interview

c.1500, “instruction in Christian principles,” also “elementary question-and-answer book of religious instruction,” from French catéchisme (14c.) and directly from Church Latin catechismus “book of instruction,” from Greek katekhismos, from katekhizein “to teach orally” (see catechize). Related: Catechismal.

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