hierophant

play
noun hi·ero·phant \ˈhī-(ə-)rə-ˌfant, hī-ˈer-ə-fənt\

Definition of hierophant

  1. 1 :  a priest in ancient Greece; specifically :  the chief priest of the Eleusinian mysteries

  2. 2a :  expositorb :  advocate 2

hierophantic

play \ˌhī-(ə-)rə-ˈfan-tik, (ˌ)hī-ˌer-ə-\ adjective

hierophant was our Word of the Day on 05/18/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hierophant in a Sentence

  1. as an early hierophant of birth control, Margaret Sanger had to face down often vehement opposition

Did You Know?

Hierophant, hieroglyphics, and hierarch" have a common root: _hieros, a Greek word meaning "sacred." Hieroglyphics joins hieros with a derivative of glyphein, the Greek verb for "carve." Hierarch, a word that can refer to a religious leader in a position of authority, joins hieros with a derivative of archein, meaning "to rule." Hierophant itself joins the root with a derivative of phainein, which means "to show." The original hierophants were priests of the ancient Greek city of Eleusis who performed sacred rites. In the 17th century, when the word was first documented in English, it referred to these priests. By the 19th century, English speakers were using the term in a broader sense. A hierophant can now be a spokesperson, a commentator, an interpreter, or a leading advocate.

Origin and Etymology of hierophant

Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs, from hieros + phainein to show — more at fancy



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an incorrigible rascal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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