evan·​gel·​i·​cal | \ ˌē-ˌvan-ˈje-li-kəl How to pronounce evangelical (audio) , ˌe-vən-\
variants: or less commonly evangelic \ ˌē-​ˌvan-​ˈje-​lik How to pronounce evangelic (audio) , 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 How to pronounce Evangelicalism (audio) , ˌe-​vən-​ \ noun
evangelically \ ˌē-​ˌvan-​ˈje-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce evangelically (audio) , 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

Both Trump and Reagan switched between pro-choice and pro-life stances, but found their feet firmly in favor of their evangelical and socially conservative supporters. Emma Russell, The New Republic, "Trump is sending abortion rights back to the Reagan era.," 18 May 2018 Her face, complete with blunt, Germanic bangs, is briefly duplicated on a giant screen like an evangelical preacher’s. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 Her opponents — Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville, state Sen. Bill Hightower and Scott Dawson, an evangelical preacher — have seized on her refusal to participate in debates, accusing her of taking voters' support for granted. Author: Maggie Astor, Anchorage Daily News, "Eight states have primaries on Tuesday. Here’s what to watch for.," 6 June 2018 The progressive beat rival Fabricio Alvarado, an evangelical preacher and musician, with 60 percent of the vote in second-round elections, and will take office on May 8. Sebastian Rodriguez, The Christian Science Monitor, "Costa Rica's president elect promises zero-carbon transport," 1 May 2018 But the style, the panache, the power of her guitar and vocals most probably are byproducts of being raised by a mother who was a devout and enthusiastic evangelical preacher of the Church of God in Christ. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland.com, "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2018: Sister Rosetta Tharpe is at the head of the class: Inductee profile," 8 Apr. 2018 Jeffress, a Southern Baptist, vigorously supported Trump during the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign and was a member of his evangelical advisory board. Matt Korade, CNN, "Controversial US pastors to take part in embassy opening in Jerusalem," 13 May 2018 One key difference, however, is that Greg Pence has remained in the Catholic church throughout his life, while Mike Pence turned to evangelical Christianity. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "What's in a name? For Greg Pence, the VP's brother, it could be a seat in Congress," 30 Apr. 2018 Get our daily newsletter Mr Gnanasara counts on his fingers the different threats his people now face: Wahhabist Islam, evangelical Christianity, international cultural invasion. The Economist, "Why South Asia’s majorities act like persecuted minorities," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Liberal self-identification is also heavily concentrated among infrequently attending young evangelicals. Jeremy Castle, Vox, "Younger evangelicals look an awful lot like older evangelicals post-2016," 12 Nov. 2018 In 2011, that figure among white evangelicals was just 30 percent. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Trump-allied pastor: Reagan was a womanizer, too," 23 July 2018 Notably, Trump’s favorability among white evangelicals never reached 50 percent during the 2016 primary season. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Nobody Likes Trump Except White Evangelicals," 19 Apr. 2018 While every other religious demographic — from white evangelicals to the religiously unaffiliated — have reported virtually unchanged attitudes toward Trump since his inauguration, mainline Protestants appear to have turned away from the president. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "“Welcome home, Matt”: Bishop Robinson welcomes Matthew Shepard — and gay Christians — back to the church," 26 Oct. 2018 The 65-year-old priest is now the repository of hope for progressive Christians who want to reclaim their faith from conservative evangelicals. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, "The royal wedding made Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry a superstar. Can the religious left translate that into political change?," 25 May 2018 But the Supreme Court was what got evangelicals on board. Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, "As Trump picks Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, evangelicals rejoice: ‘I will vote for him again’," 9 July 2018 Among them are the very ones who have championed Trump’s policies in the past, namely conservative evangelicals. Emily Mcfarlan Miller And Yonat Shimron, USA TODAY, "Why is Jeff Sessions quoting Romans 13 and why is the bible verse so often invoked?," 16 June 2018 Having weathered First Amendment battles with evangelicals at his previous post as director the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, Colo., Mr. Margolis pushed back against blanket censorship and came up with a compromise. J.m. Lawrence, BostonGlobe.com, "Bernard A. Margolis, former Boston Public Library president, dies at 69," 26 Apr. 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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Statistics for evangelical

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on evangelical

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with evangelical

Spanish Central: Translation of evangelical

Nglish: Translation of evangelical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evangelical for Arabic Speakers

Comments on evangelical

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showing great care, attention, and effort

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