ec·​cle·​si·​as·​ti·​cal i-ˌklē-zē-ˈa-sti-kəl How to pronounce ecclesiastical (audio)
: of or relating to a church especially as an established institution
: suitable for use in a church
ecclesiastically adverb

Example Sentences

ecclesiastical laws that have been in existence for centuries
Recent Examples on the Web The resulting installation adds to the ecclesiastical flavor of Robinson’s work. Steven Litt, cleveland, 15 Jan. 2023 His Dietership looked like a movie star at a ballgame, far above the average Joe Sixpack, decked out in what appeared to be a Seidensticker shirt and a leather jacket shipped from Milan, no tie, no hint of ecclesiastical responsibility. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Sep. 2022 The nightmare, in time, became an ecclesiastical asset. William J. Broad George Etheredge, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2022 But discussions of forensic investigations only accentuate how far the ecclesiastical class had traveled from the true believers in the rice fields, who require no expert witness, no genetic test to prove Charlene is a saint. Nathaniel Rich Stacy Kranitz, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2022 That’s about a quarter of all of downtown’s $9.8 billion in land and buildings, much of it tied to a rich pioneer history and run by ecclesiastical leaders and church firms whose planning timelines often stretch for generations. Tony Semerad, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Oct. 2022 Just because someone feels good about giving the right answers to interview questions coming from an ecclesiastical leader doesn’t necessarily take everything into account. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Dec. 2022 Not for committing a crime or breaking a law, rather for seeking advice and help from an ecclesiastical leader who can report them for any moral indiscretion or faith crisis. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Aug. 2022 In his opening address to Vatican II, John XXIII suggested how ecclesiastical renewal would take place. George Weigel, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ecclesiastical

Cite this Entry

“Ecclesiastical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


ec·​cle·​si·​as·​ti·​cal ik-ˌlē-zē-ˈas-ti-kəl How to pronounce ecclesiastical (audio)
variants or ecclesiastic
: of or relating to a church
ecclesiastical history
ecclesiastically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ecclesiastical

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