Definition of kirk in English:



Scottish, Northern English
  • 1A church.

    • ‘Many locals firmly believe the ghost of Canthill Road, which runs outside the kirk, is the spectre of William Smith, a Covenanter who was murdered in 1678.’
    • ‘It is from the space at the top of the kirk, an almost baronial area with vaulted arches and buttressed ceiling, that Knox & Co will gaze down on patrons.’
    • ‘Here also there was an ambitious programme of church building in the twelfth century, as favoured churches and chapels were transformed into parish kirks.’
    • ‘Anyone who challenges it from outside the islands risks the wrath of the local kirk and determined opposition from religious groups.’
    • ‘The aircraft's cockpit crashed in the next field and the kirk was used as the headquarters of the operation to find the dead.’
    • ‘The postmaster running a facility in a kirk would not have to be Christian, he said.’
    • ‘Well, Raven thought grimly as she turned her step towards the kirk, it will take a miracle to get us out of this in one piece.’
    • ‘This meant they turned out all James' supporters from their kirks.’
    • ‘Church steeples in parish kirks were used as jails.’
    • ‘Got a hotel and a bank and a restaurant, and a cafe, and a garage, a tourist office, four shops and three kirks.’
    • ‘It is likely to have benefited more from erecting the jawbone outside the island kirk and turning it into a tourist attraction, than the museum, which will simply be adding it to its existing collection.’
    • ‘Set in the historic Borders, there are castles and kirks galore, and you can use it as a stopping point on the Southern Upland Way.’
    • ‘She's not exactly royalty, but is right up there in the body of the kirk, intent on killing as many werewolves as possible.’
    • ‘A major benefit that flowed from the Reformation was the spread of education in Scotland, based on John Knox's dream of a kirk and a schoolhouse for every parish in the land.’
    house of god, the lord's house, house of prayer
    View synonyms
  • 2the Kirk" or "the Kirk of ScotlandThe Church of Scotland as distinct from the Church of England or from the Episcopal Church in Scotland.

    • ‘And since these people were Kirk of Scotland - oh horrors - they would therefore have to leave town also.’
    • ‘In the year 1636, the Bishops framed a book of Canons and constitutions for governing the Kirk of Scotland.’
    • ‘For that paternal love he hath for and towards the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, agreeable to the Articles of the Kirk of Scotland in the Presbyterian Faith.’
    • ‘The Protestant Reformation gave birth to several notable documents in the Kirk of Scotland.’
    • ‘The Kirk of Scotland has no special service for the churching of women, and churching was simply attending the ordinary service.’


Middle English: from Old Norse kirkja, from Old English cirice (see church).