hierophant

noun
hi·​ero·​phant | \ ˈhī-(ə-)rə-ˌfant How to pronounce hierophant (audio) , hī-ˈer-ə-fənt How to pronounce hierophant (audio) \

Definition of hierophant

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hierophant

hierophantic \ ˌhī-​(ə-​)rə-​ˈfan-​tik How to pronounce hierophantic (audio) , (ˌ)hī-​ˌer-​ə-​ \ adjective

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.

Examples of hierophant in a Sentence

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

First Known Use of hierophant

1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hierophant

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hierophant

Listen to Our Podcast about hierophant

Statistics for hierophant

Time Traveler for hierophant

The first known use of hierophant was in 1677

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hierophant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hierophant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hierophant

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hierophant

Comments on hierophant

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

WORD OF THE DAY

strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!