ec·​cle·​si·​as·​tic | \ i-ˌklē-zē-ˈa-stik How to pronounce ecclesiastic (audio) , e-ˌklē-\

Definition of ecclesiastic

 (Entry 1 of 2)



Definition of ecclesiastic (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ecclesiastic

Synonyms: Adjective

churchly, ecclesial, ecclesiastical

Synonyms: Noun

clergyperson, cleric, clerical, clerk, deacon, divine, dominie, minister, preacher, priest, reverend

Antonyms: Adjective

nonchurch, nonecclesiastical

Antonyms: Noun

layman, layperson, secular

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Examples of ecclesiastic in a Sentence


a council to make final determinations on ecclesiastic matters


as the leading ecclesiastic for his church in the state, the bishop must be beyond reproach in everything he does

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Wuerl’s denial corresponds with the public record, which provides ample evidence that McCarrick lived a life completely devoid of ecclesiastic restriction after the sanctions were said to have been imposed in 2009 or 2010. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope’s alleged cover-up pivots on when, if sanctions imposed," 28 Aug. 2018 To Poroshenko, who came to power in 2014 after violent protests ousted his pro-Moscow predecessor, Ukraine's ecclesiastic independence is not just a matter of squabbles of elderly, long-bearded men with archaic names. Mansur Mirovalev,, "In battle between Russia and Ukraine, even God is in dispute," 29 May 2018 Collected here are examples of ecclesiastic garb as it has been translated for the laity. Vogue, "Sunday Best: How Liturgical Silhouettes and Symbolism Have Been Interpreted by Fashion," 3 May 2018 At both, models wore crucifix-adorned masks that nodded to the dark universe of Joel-Peter Witkin and brocades that seemed to reference ecclesiastic garments. Vogue, "Take Me to Church: 21 Times Designers Put on Shows in Holy Places," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The old cloister, as the walled domain of the Chapter of Canons was called, housed unusual and not invariably pious persons, as well as the worldly ecclesiastics themselves. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 This was the Fairy Tree L’Arbre des Dames or Le Beau Mai tree, whereupon extra-ecclesiastic celebrations were staged. C.d. Wright, Harper's magazine, "Life’s a Beech," 10 Jan. 2019 There are nearly 70 community leaders — from entrepreneurs to ecclesiastics (and a rabbi thrown in for good measure) — who have joined to address the problems that have held Louisville back for decades. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Something doesn’t feel right about David Jones’ group of Louisville powerbrokers | Joe Gerth," 2 Feb. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1651, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ecclesiastic


borrowed from Late Latin ecclēsiasticus "of the Christian Church," borrowed from Late Greek ekklēsiastikós "of the Church, of Christians, of clerics (as opposed to laymen)," going back to Greek, "of the public assembly," from ekklēsiastḗs "participant in an assembly of citizens" + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at ecclesiastes


borrowed from Late Latin ecclēsiasticus "member of the Christian Church, cleric," noun derivative of ecclēsiasticus "of the Christian Church" — more at ecclesiastic entry 1

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Time Traveler for ecclesiastic

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

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English Language Learners Definition of ecclesiastic

formal : a Christian priest or minister

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