ho·​li·​ness | \ ˈhō-lē-nəs How to pronounce holiness (audio) \

Definition of holiness

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the quality or state of being holy used as a title for various high religious dignitaries His Holiness the Pope


adjective, often capitalized

Definition of holiness (Entry 2 of 2)

: emphasizing the doctrine of the second blessing specifically : of or relating to a perfectionist movement arising in U.S. Protestantism in the late 19th century

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Examples of holiness in a Sentence

Noun the holiness of this sacred place known throughout the world for his holiness, the prophet was visited daily by hundreds of pilgrims
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Spector says Rosh Hashana is largely about seeing holiness and humanity and one another, and in coming together as a community. The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Sep. 2021 While his death may be a reminder of the lifestyle tension between hip-hop and holiness, the musical blending appears to be here to stay. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 June 2021 Once Israel was destroyed by the Babylonians, the holiness ceased. Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, 1 June 2021 The chief rabbinate of Israel said it is forbidden for Jews to walk on the site in 2005 because of its holiness. Ken Chitwood, The Conversation, 12 May 2021 In biblical logic, holiness always requires sacrificial abandonment: Something must be handed over to God. Sohrab Ahmari, WSJ, 7 May 2021 Humans were guilty, and only holiness could save them. Imani Perry, The Atlantic, 7 May 2021 For many, the deepest meaning of the Gospels comes from an aesthetic experience that is part of their understanding of holiness, and some of those earlier translations are truly beautiful. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2021 Most people grew up with holy cards and statues that depict saints in their martyrdom and perfect holiness, as exceptional people to revere in a detached, superhuman way. Carol Flynn, chicagotribune.com, 12 Apr. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1888, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for holiness

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The first known use of holiness was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near holiness



holiness body

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holiness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holiness. Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for holiness



English Language Learners Definition of holiness

: the quality or state of being holy
used in the titles of high religious officials


ho·​li·​ness | \ ˈhō-lē-nəs How to pronounce holiness (audio) \

Kids Definition of holiness

1 : the quality or state of being holy the holiness of saints
2 used as a title for persons of high religious position His Holiness the Pope

More from Merriam-Webster on holiness

Nglish: Translation of holiness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holiness for Arabic Speakers


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