de·​frock | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈfräk How to pronounce defrock (audio) \
defrocked; defrocking; defrocks

Definition of defrock

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of the right to exercise the functions of office a defrocked priest
2 : to remove from a position of honor or privilege

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Examples of defrock in a Sentence

the movie's director was defrocked for going way over budget
Recent Examples on the Web Served at: Parkview Hospital, St. Pius X Parish Current status: Burke voluntarily sought and received laicization, or was defrocked, in December 1973. Jessica Seaman, The Denver Post, "Colorado Catholic Church sexual abuse: Who are the 40 priests named in the report?," 23 Oct. 2019 Though Brown was stripped of his authority to act publicly as a priest, he wasn’t laicized, or defrocked, until September 2019. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Lawsuit says Dallas diocese did not protect young girl from priest’s abuse," 1 Feb. 2020 Such behavior eventually got him defrocked, in 1955, but Peters was unfazed. Ben Downing, WSJ, "‘The Professor and the Parson’ Review: Father of Lies," 31 Jan. 2020 The church defrocked him in July, after French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted of covering up for Preynat’s actions. Washington Post, "Trial delayed for French priest accused of abusing 75 boys," 13 Jan. 2020 From 2004 to 2014 — roughly the years of Benedict’s papacy with a year on each bookend — some 848 priests were defrocked around the world and another 2,572 were sanctioned to lesser penalties, according to Vatican statistics. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican office struggles to keep up with rise in clergy abuse cases," 21 Dec. 2019 In this legal system, the worst punishment a priest can incur is being defrocked or dismissed from the clerical state. Fox News, "Pope Francis lifts 'pontifical secret' in clergy sex abuse cases used to protect pedophiles, silence victims," 18 Dec. 2019 In this legal system, the worst punishment a priest can incur is being defrocked, or dismissed from the clerical state. Nicole Winfield, The Denver Post, "Pope abolishes “pontifical secret” in clergy sex abuse cases," 17 Dec. 2019 In this legal system, the worst punishment a priest can incur is being defrocked, or dismissed from the clerical state. NBC News, "Pope abolishes 'pontifical secret' in clergy sex abuse cases," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defrock.' 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 defrock

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for defrock

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The first known use of defrock was in 1581

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Statistics for defrock

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defrock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for defrock


How to pronounce defrock (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of defrock

: to officially remove (a priest) from his or her job as punishment for doing something wrong

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