bene·​dic·​tion | \ ˌbe-nə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce benediction (audio) \

Definition of benediction

1 religion : the invocation (see invocation sense 1a) of a blessing a prayer of benediction especially : the short blessing with which public worship is concluded dismissed the congregation with a benediction
2 : something that promotes goodness or well-being … the Mexican sun is no pleasant benediction like our northern sun …— Gertrude Diamant
3 often capitalized, Christianity : a Roman Catholic or Anglo-Catholic devotion (see devotion sense 1c) including the exposition of the eucharistic Host in the monstrance and the blessing of the people with it
4 : an expression of good wishes … yearning for the benediction of the New York critics …Time

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for benediction



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

In benediction, the bene root is joined by another Latin root, dictio, "speaking", so the word's meaning becomes something like "well-wishing". Perhaps the best-known benediction is the so-called Aaronic Benediction from the Bible, which begins, "May the Lord bless you and keep you". An important section of the Catholic Mass was traditionally known as the Benedictus, after its first word (meaning "blessed"). It was St. Benedict who organized the first Christian monasteries; many Christians have been baptized Benedict in his honor, and 16 popes have taken it as their papal name.

Examples of benediction in a Sentence

He dismissed the congregation with a benediction. the priest offered a benediction for the missing children
Recent Examples on the Web Even the dormitory, with its narrow cubicles, and the timetable, which began with morning mass and included daily rosary, with benediction before study during months that were deemed to be especially sacred, hold no terror. Colm Tóibín, The New York Review of Books, "Nasty, Brutish, and Long," 27 May 2020 The ending is one of the most wrenching spiritual benedictions in all of cinema. Los Angeles Times, "From ‘Ten Commandments’ to ‘Uncut Gems,’ here are 12 great movies for Passover and Easter," 10 Apr. 2020 Bergamo, Italy, Bishop Francesco Beschi, center, performs a benediction while project director Sergio Rizzini, left, and Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori, right, listen. Janna Brancolini, Los Angeles Times, "In coronavirus-stricken Italy, a new field hospital rises at the foot of the Alps," 5 Apr. 2020 To be able to cook is itself a kind of benediction—an acknowledgment that there is food that can be prepared, and a place to make it in. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Ina Garten’s Quarantine Playbook," 1 Apr. 2020 At the First Union Center in Philadelphia, where the Republican National Convention was held that year, Bush invited Talat Othman, a Palestinian-American businessman, to deliver a Muslim benediction. Laila Lalami, Harper's Magazine, "Bright Stars," 30 Mar. 2020 Lowery, who delivered the benediction in President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama later that year. NBC News, "Civil rights icon Rev. Joseph E. Lowery dies at 98," 28 Mar. 2020 The ceremony, which lasted about an hour, included a reading from the Gospel, a sermon, and a benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Pope Francis prays for an end to pandemic in an empty St. Peter's Square," 27 Mar. 2020 On that recent night, Spinks and Brenda made it in time for the benediction and found seats in the balcony. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks is fighting for his life," 16 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benediction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of benediction

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for benediction

Middle English benediccioun, from Late Latin benediction-, benedictio, from benedicere to bless, from Latin, to speak well of, from bene well (akin to Latin bonus good) + dicere to say — more at bounty, diction

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about benediction

Time Traveler for benediction

Time Traveler

The first known use of benediction was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for benediction

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Benediction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for benediction


How to pronounce benediction (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of benediction

: a prayer that asks for God's blessing


bene·​dic·​tion | \ ˌbe-nə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce benediction (audio) \

Kids Definition of benediction

1 : a short blessing said especially at the end of a religious service
2 : an expression of good wishes

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on benediction

What made you want to look up benediction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!