ec·​cle·​si·​as·​ti·​cal | \i-ˌklē-zē-ˈa-sti-kəl, e-ˌklē-\

Definition of ecclesiastical 

1 : of or relating to a church especially as an established institution

2 : suitable for use in a church

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Other Words from ecclesiastical

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for ecclesiastical


churchly, ecclesial, ecclesiastic


nonchurch, nonecclesiastical

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Examples of ecclesiastical in a Sentence

ecclesiastical laws that have been in existence for centuries

Recent Examples on the Web

Father Theodore McCarrick was a New Jersey priest, whose charisma and intelligence had already set him on a clear course to rise in the Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "A Catholic cardinal has weathered sex abuse allegations for years. Now they’re finally public," 29 July 2018 The state confiscated most ecclesiastical property. Michael Khodarkovsky, WSJ, "Russia Wages a Religious War Against Ukraine," 30 Sep. 2018 In May 2011, the man filed a complaint with Peru’s ecclesiastical court that was forwarded to the Vatican. Marcelo RochabrÚn And Andrea Zarate, New York Times, "Sex Abuse Case Shadows Pope Francis’ Visit to Peru," 17 Jan. 2018 Sessions now faces an ecclesiastical trial and, potentially, expulsion from his church. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Pope Francis condemns Trump’s family separation policy," 20 June 2018 Arriving guests are received in the Great Hall, another double-height room with ecclesiastical overtones. Jo Rodgers, Vogue, "Old World Meets New at Adare Manor, Ireland’s Just-Renovated Castle Hotel," 4 Apr. 2018 Landscaped paths connect tidy modern facilities — a gift shop, a religious printing press —with ecclesiastical structures, including the St. Ottilia chapel for which this Benedictine congregation is named. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 Unlike Vatican museums collections, items still used in liturgical celebrations are kept in the chapel’s sacristy, an adjoining room housing vestments and other ecclesiastical items. Shira Telushkin, Washington Post, "High church meets high fashion: How Catholic style took over the Met," 3 May 2018 Recently, the entire senior church hierarchy of Chile resigned en masse after Francis condemned the seeming cover-up of abuse by a Chilean bishop, Rev. Fernando Karadima, by other ecclesiastical officials. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "America’s highest-ranking Catholic official suspended for alleged child sex abuse," 20 June 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.

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First Known Use of ecclesiastical

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ecclesiastical

Middle English, from Late Latin ecclesiasticus, from Late Greek ekklēsiastikos, from Greek, of an assembly of citizens, from ekklēsiastēs

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of ecclesiastical

: of or relating to the Christian church or clergy

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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