Borrowed from French catéchumène or Ecclesiastical Latin catēchūmenus, itself a borrowing from Ancient Greek κατηχούμενος (katēkhoúmenos, “being instructed”), present participle passive of κατηχέω (katēkhéō, “sound through, instruct orally, catechise”), from κατά (katá, “down”) + ἠχή (ēkhḗ, “sound”).
catechumen (plural catechumens)
- A convert to Christianity under instruction before baptism; a young Christian preparing for confirmation.
1963, Thomas Pynchon, V.:
- Here in this room an old man had killed and boiled a catechumen, had committed sodomy with a rat, had discussed a rodent nunhood with V., a future saint – depending which story you listened to.