ec·​cle·​si·​as·​ti·​cal | \ i-ˌklē-zē-ˈa-sti-kəl How to pronounce ecclesiastical (audio) , e-ˌklē-\

Definition of ecclesiastical

1 : of or relating to a church especially as an established institution
2 : suitable for use in a church

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ecclesiastical

ecclesiastically \ i-​ˌklē-​zē-​ˈa-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ecclesiastically (audio) , e-​ˌklē-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for ecclesiastical


churchly, ecclesial, ecclesiastic


nonchurch, nonecclesiastical

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of ecclesiastical in a Sentence

ecclesiastical laws that have been in existence for centuries

Recent Examples on the Web

The trial was convened as a synod with all the cardinals, bishops, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries in full attendance. National Geographic, "In 897, the corpse of a pope was exhumed—to be put on trial.," 20 Aug. 2019 The effect is madcap-Victorian-ecclesiastical, a shrine to obsessive collecting. Amy Merrick, WSJ, "The Cultish Home That Draws Fans of Americana Design," 3 Aug. 2018 But Cardinal Ortega’s beginnings were modest, and his climb up the ecclesiastical ladder was arduous. Peter Orsi,, "Cardinal Ortega, former archbishop of Havana, at 82," 27 July 2019 For the ecclesiastical propagandists who first proposed the idea, the Huns were an obvious choice of predecessor. Jacob Mikanowski, Harper's magazine, "The Call of the Drums," 21 July 2019 This exposed him early to sacred music in an ecclesiastical context. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "A Millennial Countertenor’s Pop-Star Appeal," 15 July 2019 When the last of the Anglican ecclesiastical refugees dies, if no change has been made in the meantime, the Catholic priesthood of the Western or Latin rite will go back to being entirely celibate. Erasmus, The Economist, "Why Pope Francis may open the door to married priests," 18 June 2019 Above all, John provoked the most effective baronial and ecclesiastical revolt of the Middle Ages and endured the humiliation of submitting to its demands. Allan Massie, WSJ, "‘The Restless Kings’ Review: A Family at War With Itself," 11 Jan. 2019 Ninomiya’s all-black ensembles underlined his inventive use of fabric, while Piccioli’s colorful nylon capes suggested ecclesiastical astronauts. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "The Reimagining of a Classic Moncler Jacket," 20 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ecclesiastical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ecclesiastical

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ecclesiastical

Middle English ecclesiasticall, from Late Latin ecclēsiasticus "of the Christian Church" + Middle English -all -al entry 1 — more at ecclesiastic entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ecclesiastical

Statistics for ecclesiastical

Last Updated

26 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ecclesiastical

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ecclesiastical



English Language Learners Definition of ecclesiastical

: of or relating to the Christian church or clergy

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ecclesiastical

What made you want to look up ecclesiastical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!