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 dignitariesHis 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 Over at the Radiant Assembly of God, Sister Alice spins her latest sermon, the collection plates jingle with the generosity of her faithful congregation, and Perry Mason waits for a meeting with her holiness. Matt Cabral, EW.com, "Perry Mason recap: Paul Drake delivers a new clue with some serious bite," 6 July 2020 Amid the busy Protestant hum of modern American life, perfection remains tied to contemplation, holiness, and stasis (what the religious orders call the vow of stability). James Matthew Wilson, National Review, "Great American Fiction and the Catholic Literary Imagination," 16 Apr. 2020 Raised in the segregated south, he was steeped in the tradition of Confederate preachers who sermonized to their flocks in the CSA on the holiness of white supremacy and characterized the Christian god as inherently racist. Jared Yates Sexton, The New Republic, "The Cult of the Shining City Embraces the Plague," 25 Mar. 2020 Throughout Corpus Christi, Kosama and Pacewicz’s observation of modern piety seems to be a search for holiness. Armond White, National Review, "Polish Oscar Nominee Corpus Christi Preaches Forgiveness," 20 Feb. 2020 To be denied communion is essentially to be denied one's right to the holiness of Catholicism. Monica Haider, CNN, "Catholic diocese denies gay Michigan judge communion," 30 Nov. 2019 Any hint of holiness is wrecked by a rainstorm, and by the glare of the arc lights under which TV cameras hope to catch the miracle, yet Fellini does not rage at our credulity. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "A Hundred Years of Fellini," 17 Jan. 2020 The discoveries may help to put to rest the symbolism theory—the idea that the cones were simply a way for artists to denote a wearer’s special status, like the halos used to signify holiness in Christian art. Colin Barras, Science | AAAS, "These mysterious Egyptian head cones actually existed, grave find reveals," 10 Dec. 2019 The gospel of socialism spread through Oklahoma at weeklong summer camp meetings that attracted thousands and had the atmosphere of holiness revivals. Trevor Paulhus, Smithsonian, "When the Socialist Revolution Came to Oklahoma—and Was Crushed," 19 Sep. 2019

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

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Cite this Entry

“Holiness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holiness. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for holiness


How to pronounce holiness (audio)

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 positionHis Holiness the Pope

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