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Pen·​te·​cos·​tal ˌpen-ti-ˈkä-stᵊl How to pronounce Pentecostal (audio)
: of, relating to, or suggesting Pentecost
: of, relating to, or constituting any of various Christian religious bodies that emphasize individual experiences of grace, spiritual gifts (such as glossolalia and faith healing), expressive worship, and evangelism
Pentecostalism noun
Pentecostalist noun or adjective


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: a member of a Pentecostal religious body

Did you know?

In ancient Greek, pentekoste meant "fiftieth day"—that is, the fiftieth day after Easter (counting Easter itself). On that day, Christians celebrate an event described in the Bible that took place fifty days after Christ's resurrection, when the apostles heard the rush of a mighty wind, saw tongues of fire descending on them, and heard the Holy Spirit speaking from their own mouths but in other tongues (languages). "Speaking in tongues", when everyone in a congregation may begin talking in languages that no one can understand, is the best-known practice of Pentecostals. Pentecostals belong to many different denominations; with growing numbers especially in Latin America and Africa, there may be over 500 million Pentecostals worldwide.

Examples of Pentecostal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
His passion for drumming first developed while attending Pentecostal church services with his parents, at first being awed by the in-house drummer and then becoming a part of the church band. Carlos De Loera, Los Angeles Times, 31 Oct. 2023 Perry, the daughter of Pentecostal pastors, prevailed. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 5 Oct. 2023 Waggoner grew up in Longview, Washington, near the Oregon border, and belongs to the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination—part of a movement defined by speaking in tongues. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2023 My grandmother took us to these little Pentecostal churches, where the musical and moral legacy had a profound influence on my life. Thor Christensen, Dallas News, 1 Aug. 2023 Advertisement The impact and contradictions of the one-party Marxist Leninist government, the creeping influence of Pentecostal evangelism and the growing frustrations of working-class Ethiopians vibrate with urgency in this novelist’s hands. Lovia Gyarkye, Washington Post, 29 June 2023 The most significant Pentecostal pastors are skillful political and religious entrepreneurs, developing new spiritual narratives to attract and influence parishioners and turning their churches into the engines of substantial revenue-yielding empires. Ebenezer Obadare, Foreign Affairs, 18 Apr. 2023 His Anglo American Pentecostal parents devoted their lives to helping evangelical churches in Mexico. Marcela Valdes, New York Times, 28 June 2023 Chavez would have immediately noticed a striking contrast between demonstrative Pentecostal worship and the staid music of Catholicism in the pre-Vatican II years. Lloyd Daniel Barba, Fortune, 31 Mar. 2023
First Pentecostal Church has mailed out thousands of invitations to friends and neighbors. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, 28 Oct. 2023 Alfaro, who was raised in nearby Pico-Union by a Mexican Catholic father and a Chicana Pentecostal mother, knows the hold that religion has on gente and explores the idea of breaking free. Kamren Curiel, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 Known as the Pentecostal First Lady to her church's congregation, Mary and her over-the-top outfits have been the subject of many a Watch What Happens Live conversation. Sarah Felbin, Women's Health, 5 Sep. 2023 Multiple churches including the town’s Catholic Church, the Salvation Army Church and the Pentecostal Church, as well as the local Christian colony, were also vandalized and set on fire, Talib told CNN. Sophia Saifi, CNN, 16 Aug. 2023 Reginald served on and off as a preacher at Church of God in Christ, the Pentecostal community. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 7 Aug. 2023 The country has long been a Catholic stronghold, but evangelicals have made tremendous inroads in recent decades, particularly Pentecostals. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, 22 July 2023 Her speech in Malawi was attended by the country’s president, a former leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God movement. Time, 3 July 2023 Her speech in Malawi was attended by the country's president, a former leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God movement. Cara Anna,, 2 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Pentecostal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Pentecostal was circa 1663

Dictionary Entries Near Pentecostal

Cite this Entry

“Pentecostal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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