bene·​dic·​tion ˌbe-nə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce benediction (audio)
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
: something that promotes goodness or well-being
… the Mexican sun is no pleasant benediction like our northern sun …Gertrude Diamant
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
: an expression of good wishes
… yearning for the benediction of the New York critics …Time

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 Guns play a defining role in Rod of Iron Ministries, which elevates the Second Amendment to divine benediction. TIME, 4 Apr. 2024 The closing of a letter suits the liminal space of the benediction. Julia Cho, The New Yorker, 31 Mar. 2024 But in the midst of this winter of our discontent, her latest piece, the ravishing Terce: A Practical Breviary, now playing at the Space at Irondale in Park Slope, feels almost like a benediction. Adam Green, Vogue, 22 Jan. 2024 In 1791, France became the first European country to fully emancipate its Jewish population, and for more than two hundred years French rabbis have spoken a special Sabbath benediction. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 11 Jan. 2024 Early on, his effort to bring the past into the present receives a majestic combination of a caveat and a benediction from the poet and scholar Sterling A. Brown, then around eighty. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 16 Jan. 2024 As the sun rose over Florida just beyond them, a man with a tattoo on his arm of a hand making the sign of the benediction began recording a video on his phone. Seth Freed Wessler, ProPublica, 7 Dec. 2023 The ceremony will include an invocation and benediction from Liturgical Deacon Charles E. Barnhart, Jr., as well as a wreath laying. Staff, Baltimore Sun, 8 Sep. 2023 Advertisement On Wednesday, Herman Fillmore of the Washoe Tribe offered a benediction celebrating land his people value so much, as three paddle boards languidly floated behind him, three people in kayaks passed by and three jet skis zoomed along in the distance. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2023

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near benediction

Cite this Entry

“Benediction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


bene·​dic·​tion ˌben-ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce benediction (audio)
: an expression of good wishes
: the short blessing at the end of a religious service

Middle English benediccioun "an expression of blessing or good wishes," from Latin benediction-, benedictio (same meaning), from benedicere "to bless," from earlier bene dicere "to praise, speak well," from bene "well" and dicere "to say" — related to dictate

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