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See also: Catholic



From Old French catholique, from Latin catholicus, from Ancient Greek καθολικός (katholikós, universal), from κατά (katá, according to) + ὅλος (hólos, whole)



catholic (comparative more catholic, superlative most catholic)

  1. Universal; all-encompassing.
    Synonyms: universal; see also Thesaurus:generic, Thesaurus:comprehensive
    • 1624, John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII., in The Works of John Donne, vol. 3, ed. Henry Alford, London: John W. Parker (1839), pp. 574-5:
      The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.29:
      Essentially, and in idea, the empire, in the minds of the Romans, was world-wide. This conception descended to the Church, which was ‘Catholic’ in spite of Buddhists, Confucians, and (later) Muhammadans.
    • 1961 March, “Motive Power Miscellany”, in Trains Illustrated, page 181:
      Newton Heath depot has lately been catholic in its choice of power for the 6.10 p.m. Manchester-Southport and the 9 p.m. back via Bolton.
    • 1995, Brian D. Crandall & Peter W. Stahl, Human Digestive Effects on a Micromammalian Skeleton, Journal of Archaeological Science (1995) 22, 789-797:
      This semifossorial mammal tends to reside in areas with herbaceous cover, frequenting runways in the upper soil horizons where it feeds on a highly catholic diet of animal and plant materials []
  2. Pertaining to all kinds of people and their range of tastes, proclivities etc.; liberal.
    Synonyms: eclectic; see also Thesaurus:heterogeneous
    • 1959, Anthony Burgess, Beds in the East (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 584:
      "I've got catholic tastes. Catholic with a small "c", of course."
    • 2003, Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything; The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, New York: Oxford University Press. p.72:
      He was omnivorous in his appetite for knowledge, quite catholic in his range of interests []
  3. Alternative letter-case form of Catholic.