1. any of several churches claiming to have maintained historical continuity with the original Christian Church
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Church \Church\ (ch[^u]rch), n. [OE. chirche, chireche, cherche,
Scot. kirk, from AS. circe, cyrice; akin to D. kerk, Icel.
kirkja, Sw. kyrka, Dan. kirke, G. kirche, OHG. chirihha; all
fr. Gr. kyriako`n the Lord's house, fr. kyriako`s concerning
a master or lord, fr. ky`rios master, lord, fr. ky^ros power,
might; akin to Skr. [,c][=u]ra hero, Zend. [,c]ura strong,
OIr. caur, cur, hero. Cf. Kirk.]
1. A building set apart for Christian worship.
2. A Jewish or heathen temple. [Obs.] --Acts xix. 37.
3. A formally organized body of Christian believers
worshiping together. "When they had ordained them elders
in every church." --Acts xiv. 23.
4. A body of Christian believers, holding the same creed,
observing the same rites, and acknowledging the same
ecclesiastical authority; a denomination; as, the Roman
Catholic church; the Presbyterian church.
5. The collective body of Christians.
6. Any body of worshipers; as, the Jewish church; the church
7. The aggregate of religious influences in a community;
ecclesiastical influence, authority, etc.; as, to array
the power of the church against some moral evil.
Remember that both church and state are properly the
rulers of the people, only because they are their
Note: Church is often used in composition to denote something
belonging or relating to the church; as, church
authority; church history; church member; church music,
Apostolic church. See under Apostolic.
Broad church. See Broad Church.
Catholic church or Universal church, the whole body of
believers in Christ throughout the world.
Church of England, or English church, the Episcopal
church established and endowed in England by law.
Church living, a benefice in an established church.
Church militant. See under Militant.
Church owl (Zool.), the white owl. See Barn owl.
Church rate, a tax levied on parishioners for the
maintenance of the church and its services.
Church session. See under Session.
Church triumphant. See under Triumphant.
Church work, work on, or in behalf of, a church; the work
of a particular church for the spread of religion.
Established church, the church maintained by the civil
authority; a state church.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: any of several churches claiming to have maintained
historical continuity with the original Christian Church