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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Synonyms & Antonyms for defrock


depose, deprive, dethrone, displace, oust, uncrown, unmake, unseat, unthrone


crown, enthrone, throne

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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

Capparelli was defrocked as a priest in 1992 in New Jersey after being accused of groping and brutalizing teenage boys in the 1970s and 1980s at churches around the state. Ken Ritter, Detroit Free Press, "Man held in Oakland County Jail named in death of ex-priest in Las Vegas," 5 June 2019 The next year, the church defrocked Father Geoghan and removed him from the priesthood. New York Times, "Maryetta Dussourd, 74, Dies; Raised Early Alarm on Abusive Priests," 3 June 2019 The decision makes the 88-year-old the first U.S. cardinal—and possibly the first ever globally—to be defrocked. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Francis, in a First, Dismisses U.S. Cardinal From the Priesthood," 16 Feb. 2019 Altogether, the pope has accepted the resignations of seven bishops in Chile and defrocked several prominent priests. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "Pope Francis’ Handling of Sex-Abuse Cases Fractures a Catholic Stronghold," 19 Oct. 2018 One prominent cleric, who has denied abuse allegations, was among those defrocked by Pope Francis. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "Pope Francis’ Handling of Sex-Abuse Cases Fractures a Catholic Stronghold," 19 Oct. 2018 While hundreds of priests have been defrocked over the years for raping and molesting minors, only a few bishops have faced sanctions for failing to prevent such crimes. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Vatican expert wants accountability on abuse summit agenda," 8 Oct. 2018 The monks have been defrocked and charged with offenses related to embezzlement, fraud and robbery. George Styllis, Washington Post, "Thai crackdown targets Buddhist monks amid accusations of embezzlement and fraud," 24 June 2018 Late last month, the pope defrocked Fernando Karadima, an influential priest in Santiago who was accused in 2010 of having molested minors in his parish. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "Pope Defrocks Chilean Bishops Accused of Sex Abuse," 13 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for defrock

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defrock

The first known use of defrock was in 1581

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More Definitions for defrock



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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Comments on defrock

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something desired as essential

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