Definition of kirk in English:



Northern English, Scottish
  • 1A church.

    • ‘Here also there was an ambitious programme of church building in the twelfth century, as favoured churches and chapels were transformed into parish kirks.’
    • ‘She's not exactly royalty, but is right up there in the body of the kirk, intent on killing as many werewolves as possible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Got a hotel and a bank and a restaurant, and a cafe, and a garage, a tourist office, four shops and three kirks.’
    • ‘This meant they turned out all James' supporters from their kirks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Anyone who challenges it from outside the islands risks the wrath of the local kirk and determined opposition from religious groups.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Church steeples in parish kirks were used as jails.’
    • ‘The postmaster running a facility in a kirk would not have to be Christian, he said.’
    • ‘The aircraft's cockpit crashed in the next field and the kirk was used as the headquarters of the operation to find the dead.’
    house of god, the lord's house, house of prayer
    View synonyms
  • 2The Church of Scotland as distinct from the Church of England or from the Episcopal Church in 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).