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


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

Words cannot describe the holiness that permeated that church. The Rev. Ellin Dize, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Dize: Never be surprised by the venue God chooses to encapsulate your unsuspecting soul," 16 Aug. 2019 This is an indelible meditation on living, breathing holiness. Barbara Mahany, chicagotribune.com, "In ‘A Living Gospel,’ Robert Ellsberg finds the thread connecting the saintly," 2 Aug. 2019 The Detroit native and pop music powerhouse grew up in the church, and brings just a dash of holiness to the listening experience. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "The Decade of Lizzo Is Just Getting Started," 30 July 2019 To me the idea of brokenness and holiness really go together. Jane Ratcliffe, Longreads, "‘Brokenness and Holiness Really Go Together’: Darcey Steinke on Menopause," 15 June 2019 Anita Raines, of the Conference’s National Advisory Council, said the council wants a code of conduct for bishops and a public recommitment to chastity and holiness. Marisa Iati, The Seattle Times, "Bishops are conflicted about how they need to change to reduce sexual abuse," 13 Nov. 2018 Though the broader theme of Francis’s guidance to the Catholic Church was holiness, some scholars read the work as a response to his conservative critics. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Why Mark Zuckerberg is embracing more regulation of political ads on Facebook," 10 Apr. 2018 Pour out your blessings upon HARRY and MEGHAN, that they may be joined in mutual love and companionship, in holiness and commitment to each other. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Full order of service for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle," 18 May 2018 On the great south lawn, guests gathered in groups, anxious to greet the new Jesuit in the family, with his new black habit and his new air of holiness. John L’heureux, The New Yorker, "The Long Black Line," 14 May 2018

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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Statistics for holiness

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for holiness

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on holiness

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holiness

Spanish Central: Translation of holiness

Nglish: Translation of holiness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holiness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on holiness

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


to make a temporary encampment

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