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ho·​li·​ness ˈhō-lē-nəs How to pronounce holiness (audio)
: the quality or state of being holy
used as a title for various high religious dignitaries
His Holiness the Pope


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often capitalized
: 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

Example Sentences

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
Some Jews remove their shoes while praying there, another nod to the site’s holiness. Shayndi Raice, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2023 The story goes that inside her heart were tiny religious symbols, including a crucifix: positive proof of her holiness that aided in the campaign for her canonization as a saint. Kate Golembiewski, Discover Magazine, 6 Feb. 2021 An aching, bittersweet meditation on the holiness of the everyday, and an expression of intimacy from one of indie rock’s most mysterious, and best, songwriters. Lindsay Zoladz, New York Times, 7 Dec. 2022 If cleanliness is next to holiness, Buc-ee’s beaver is approaching deity status. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 22 Nov. 2022 In the late Middle Ages, the October night was taken as the moment at which constraints on ghosts were weakest, before the holiness of the saints drove them back at dawn. Faith Bottum, WSJ, 27 Oct. 2022 Reveal to them also your beauty, holiness, and purity. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 19 Oct. 2022 Sunday’s beatification continues a trend under the last three popes of posthumously honoring the holiness of their recent predecessors. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, 4 Sep. 2022 But past popes have also hailed the sacrifice and holiness of the European Catholic missionaries who brought Christianity to the Americas -- something Francis, too, has done but isn't expected to emphasize during this trip. Arkansas Online, 24 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


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


1888, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near holiness

Cite this Entry

“Holiness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holiness. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on holiness

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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