evan·​gel·​i·​cal | \ˌē-ˌvan-ˈje-li-kəl, ˌe-vən-\
variants: or less commonly evangelic \ ˌē-​ˌvan-​ˈje-​lik , ˌe-​vən-​ \

Definition of evangelical 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels

3 : emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual

4a capitalized : of or relating to the Evangelical Church in Germany

b often capitalized : of, adhering to, or marked by fundamentalism : fundamentalist

c often capitalized : low church

5 : marked by militant or crusading zeal : evangelistic the evangelical ardor of the movement's leaders— Amos Vogel


noun, often capitalized

Definition of evangelical (Entry 2 of 2)

: one holding evangelical principles or belonging to an evangelical party or church

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Other Words from evangelical


Evangelicalism \ ˌē-​ˌvan-​ˈje-​li-​kə-​ˌli-​zəm , ˌe-​vən-​ \ noun
evangelically \ ˌē-​ˌvan-​ˈje-​li-​k(ə-​)lē , ˌe-​vən-​ \ adverb

Examples of evangelical in a Sentence


She is an evangelical Christian. He spoke about the project with evangelical zeal.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The white evangelical community views the Trump era as a fundamental realignment of American politics, with the Christian right reasserting itself after eight years of Barack Obama. Dylan Scott, Vox, "White evangelicals turned out for the GOP in big numbers again," 7 Nov. 2018 Gays and lesbians fear evangelical social conservatism. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Brazil Is Moving Its Embassy to Jerusalem," 5 Nov. 2018 According to The Nation, the anti-LGBTQ backlash in the country has followed an influx of evangelical activism in Africa by people from the United States. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Had to Explain Her Job to the Controversial President of Uganda in a Meeting That Also Included Kanye," 16 Oct. 2018 This is the moment many within the evangelical community have been waiting for. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Justice Kennedy’s retirement is what evangelicals were banking on with Trump," 28 June 2018 The evangelist Franklin Graham’s California rally last week in Fresno also exposed the underlying racial tension in the evangelical community, the three pastors said. Elizabeth Dias, New York Times, "Is Trump Racist? Is There a Double Standard? California Pastors Debate.," 2 June 2018 In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical and American Jewish communities, too. Josh Lederman, USA TODAY, "Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson offers to help pay for Jerusalem embassy: report," 23 Feb. 2018 Experts say that part of the reason these Latin American nations are recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating their embassies there has to do, in part, with the rise of evangelical Christianity in the region. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "More countries following Trump in moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem," 9 July 2018 Hof’s brothels exist to serve male pleasure, just as many evangelical churches teach that the household must be run at the pleasure of the man. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Evangelicals boldly back ex-pimp for state senator in Nevada.," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Overall, white evangelicals remain the only religious demographic to support Trump’s presidency. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The GOP can’t rely on white evangelicals forever," 7 Nov. 2018 Some of President Trump’s strongest support comes from evangelicals who believe their rights are under assault in modern American culture. Cathy Young, BostonGlobe.com, "Is liberal democracy failing? No, it’s a victim of its own success," 8 July 2018 Some non-white evangelicals will welcome Graham’s religious message, but far fewer will pay attention to his paeans to the immigrant-bashing champion of white self-esteem in that very White House. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Franklin Graham Invades ‘Godless’ California," 28 May 2018 White’s language reflects a broader and deeply troubling trend on the part of white Christian evangelicals, a full 36 percent of whom support the family separation policy as of late June. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Top Trump evangelical ally: Jesus never broke immigration law," 11 July 2018 Griffith might also have discussed reported declines in overall numbers of evangelicals, in evangelical loyalty to the right, and in church attendance among evangelical as well as mainline Protestants. Linda Gordon, The New Republic, "How birth-control leaders found allies in American religious groups," 5 Apr. 2018 The most important flagships of the evangelicals, including their homophobic and pro-life discourse, is not that extreme to Costa Rican voters and voters in other countries. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "Are evangelical politics reshaping Central America into the new Bible Belt? | Miami Herald," 30 Mar. 2018 In Brazil, which has the world’s largest Catholic population, evangelicals preaching prosperity gospels are giving stiff competition to Catholicism, which is projected to become a minority faith in 2030. Jason Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "As Ireland joins Europe’s sprint from Catholic fold, Francis looks south," 27 May 2018 In 1979, Jerry Falwell surprised everyone by launching a powerful political movement of fundamentalists and other conservative evangelicals. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Moments From American History That Matter Right Now," 28 June 2018

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


1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1532, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for evangelical

The first known use of evangelical was in 1531

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More Definitions for evangelical



English Language Learners Definition of evangelical

: of or relating to a Christian sect or group that stresses the authority of the Bible, the importance of believing that Jesus Christ saved you personally from sin or hell, and the preaching of these beliefs to other people

: having or showing very strong and enthusiastic feelings

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a private place of worship

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