• WordNet 3.6
    • n churchwarden an officer in the Episcopal church who helps a parish priest with secular matters
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Churchwarden A clay tobacco pipe, with a long tube. "There was a small wooden table placed in front of the smoldering fire, with decanters, a jar of tobacco, and two long churchwardens ."
    • Churchwarden One of the officers (usually two) in an Episcopal church, whose duties vary in different dioceses, but always include the provision of what is necessary for the communion service.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n churchwarden In the Anglican Church, an officer whose business it is to look after the secular affairs of the church, and who in England is the legal representative of the parish. Churchwardens are appointed by the minister, or elected by the parishioners, to superintend the church, its property and concerns, to enforce proper and orderly behavior during divine service, and in England to fix the church-rates. For these and many other purposes, including in England some of a strictly secular character, they possess corporate powers. There are usually two churchwardens to each parish, but by custom there may be only one. By a canon of the Church of England, joint consent of minister and parish should attend the choice of churchwardens. If they cannot agree, the minister names one and the parishioners the other. In some cases the parish has a right by custom to choose both. In the United States churchwardens are always elected, but have duties similar to the above. In colonial times, in most of the middle and southern colonies, they had civil duties in connection with the local government of the parish.
    • n churchwarden A long clay pipe.
    • n churchwarden A shag or cormorant.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Churchwarden an officer who represents the interests of a parish or church: a long clay-pipe
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. circe (Scot, kirk; Ger. kirche)—Gr. kyriakon, belonging to the Lord—Kyrios, the Lord.


In literature:

Richard Hall was churchwarden in 1600 and in 1606 (Churchwarden's Accounts, St. Nicholas, Warwick, Mr. Richard Savage).
"Shakespeare's Family" by Mrs. C. C. Stopes
Churchwarden on baldrocks and thanksgiving-book, 328.
"Notes and Queries, Index of Volume 3, January-June, 1851" by Various
Smart, the two churchwardens.
"The Annals of Willenhall" by Frederick William Hackwood
The churchwarden's wife was asked to meet her on these occasions.
"Lady Cassandra" by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey
Three men were standing below, who presently came up: they were the churchwardens.
"Joseph in the Snow, and The Clockmaker" by Berthold Auerbach
The man who had pursued and caught the girl was Mr. Marsh, the people's churchwarden, a widower with grown-up daughters.
"Bindle" by Herbert Jenkins
A "churchwarden" is no use.
"Soap-Bubbles" by C. V. Boys
One of the name was overseer of highways, and one was churchwarden in Ilkley.
"Henry Wadsworth Longfellow" by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
But one of the churchwardens got round him.
"Sinister Street, vol. 1" by Compton Mackenzie
How did it happen that a harmless churchwarden and retired cashier possessed so lethal a weapon?
"The Gay Adventure" by Richard Bird

In poetry:

Prince should your royal eyes espy
A white hair—this is entre nous—
Remember you are very nigh
Churchwardens and a friend or two.
"A Ballade Of "ChurchWardens"" by Alexander Anderson
Himself examines all the streets;
Tells every passenger he meets,
And his egregious folly states
To churchwardens and magistrates.
But all adhering to one rule,
Join, with himself, to call him fool.
"The Pleasures Of Matrimony" by William Hutton
Your jar of Virginny
Will cost you a guinea,
Which you reckon too much by five shillings or ten;
But light your churchwarden
And judge it according,
When I've told you the troubles of poor honest men.
"Poor Honest Men" by Rudyard Kipling