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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for benediction


benison, blessing


anathema, curse, execration, imprecation, malediction

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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

This year’s invocation was by the Rev. Alf Halvorson of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church and benediction by pastor Wick Stuckey of Chapelwood United Methodist Church. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "CanCare sells out 25th Silver Anniversary Cancer Survivors Day luncheon," 14 June 2019 Blocking prayer in school: In 1992, George H.W. Bush sought to galvanize the religious right by seizing on a case involving a clergyman who delivered an invocation and benediction at a public junior high school graduation ceremony in Rhode Island. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Five times Anthony Kennedy was the fifth vote shows the significance of his retirement," 28 June 2018 Ceremony includes invocation, a moment of silence, presentation of colors, posting of service flags, taps, presentation of a wreath and benediction. Linda Mcintosh,, "Poker Tourney raises $250K for Boys&Girls news," 25 May 2018 Released April 27 — the deadline for a project to be considered for September's 70th Primetime Emmy Awards — An Emmy for Megan chronicles Amram's journey to become an actress worthy of the TV Academy's benediction. Pete Keeley, The Hollywood Reporter, "Megan Amram Lands 2 Emmy Noms for Series in Which She Campaigns for an Emmy," 12 July 2018 The ceremony will close with a benediction followed by a white dove release. Linda Mcintosh,, "Memorial Day events in North County," 22 May 2018 And the culminating Sunday-night set by Mavis Staples, Chicago's undisputed queen of soul and gospel, should provide sufficient benediction for even the crankiest critic. David Whiteis, Chicago Reader, "The Reader’s guide to the 2018 Chicago Blues Festival," 5 June 2018 George Martin, the Legion post assistant chaplain, closed the ceremony with the benediction. David Anderson, The Aegis, "APG commander honors fallen military, police at Aberdeen Memorial Day ceremony," 29 May 2018 Yet many of the images, served up as an abstract dreamscape during the film’s latter stretches, amount to a benediction. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Mountain’ Review: Such Great Heights," 24 May 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for benediction

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for benediction

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

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More Definitions for benediction



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

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