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

Synonyms & Antonyms for benediction



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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 The tournament itself, in the Tennis Center’s grand space full of monuments to Sampras and the Williams sisters, hovered somewhere between gate-crashing and benediction. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 The Oregonian Armed with white trash bags, rubber gloves and the power of prayer, two women offered up a benediction for the people living on and around Portland’s deadliest block. oregonlive, 17 July 2022 The procession will culminate in a very meaningful time of adoration and benediction with the Blessed Sacrament at St. James the Less. Chicago Tribune, 18 June 2022 After the final benediction, congregants streamed past him, eager to offer hugs or handshakes and fulsome congratulations. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, 30 May 2022 After an exceptional hour, Mozart leaves us with a benediction but without the peace offering. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2022 Worshipers began writhing as if in pain, others waved their hands in the air in benediction. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2022 The ceremony closed, as always, with a special benediction from an industry veteran. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Mar. 2022 Coach Demarco Bradley raised his hands to the sky and just after noon, the basketball benediction ended the mid-morning celebration. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 20 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Benediction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for benediction


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

More from Merriam-Webster on benediction

Nglish: Translation of benediction for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about benediction


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