hom·​i·​ly | \ ˈhä-mə-lē How to pronounce homily (audio) \
plural homilies

Definition of homily

1 : a usually short sermon a priest delivering his homily
2 : a lecture or discourse on or of a moral theme
3 : an inspirational catchphrase also : platitude

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Synonyms for homily


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Homily Has Greek Roots

Gather around for the history of homily. The story starts with ancient Greek homilos, meaning "crowd" or "assembly." Greeks used homilos to create the verb homilein ("to consort with" or "to address"), as well as the noun homilia ("conversation"). Latin speakers borrowed homilia, then passed it on to Anglo-French. By the time it crossed into Middle English, the spelling had shifted to omelie, but by the mid-16th century the term had regained its "h" and the "y" of the modern spelling was added.

Examples of homily in a Sentence

The priest gave a brief homily on forgiveness. We had to listen to another one of his homilies about the value of public service. a politician with a fondness for homily
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Recent Examples on the Web Richard Samide, who celebrated the Mass, said during his homily. Jack Rooney, Cincinnati.com, "'They literally held hands for the last week of their life.' Ohio couple dies within hours of each other," 3 Jan. 2020 In his homily, Pizzaballa lamented the violence and deep divisions that characterize the modern Holy Land. Arkansas Online, "Thousands mark Christmas in West Bank town of Bethlehem," 24 Dec. 2019 The movie re-creates those homilies by artificially re-creating scenes of the show’s videotape and alternating them with the real-life story of optimistic Rogers (Hanks) being interviewed by cynical journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys). Armond White, National Review, "Christian Faith Is the Missing Ingredient in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," 29 Nov. 2019 The homily of victory is a staple of the Patriots culture. BostonGlobe.com, "After the Patriots defeated the Bills, 16-10, last Sunday with Slater collecting the first touchdown of his career on a blocked punt, he summed up a tractor pull of a win.," 6 Oct. 2019 After a brief rehearsal in London, shooting began on Nov. 13, 2017, in the poorest parts of Buenos Aires, where Pryce delivers a homily in Spanish. Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter, "Making of 'The Two Popes': Director Fernando Meirelles Cast Francis After Google Search," 16 Dec. 2019 Last year's statement also said that LaCuesta will not preach at funerals and will have his future homilies reviewed. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "A Catholic priest condemned a teen's suicide at his own funeral. Now, his mom is suing," 20 Nov. 2019 Santos, delivering his homily in Spanish, asked for prayers for peace, love, and for God. BostonGlobe.com, "In wake of shootings, fears that ‘it is not safe to be Latino’," 5 Aug. 2019 Francis has refused to comment directly about Vigano’s claims, but nearly every day over the past two weeks his homily at morning Mass has seemed somewhat related to the scandal. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope to meet US bishops Thursday over abuse scandal," 11 Sep. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for homily

Middle English omelie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin homilia, from Late Greek, from Greek, conversation, discourse, from homilein to consort with, address, from homilos crowd, assembly; akin to Greek homos same — more at same

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Time Traveler for homily

Time Traveler

The first known use of homily was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Homily.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homily. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for homily


How to pronounce homily (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of homily

: a usually short talk on a religious or moral topic
: advice that is often not wanted

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More from Merriam-Webster on homily

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for homily

Spanish Central: Translation of homily

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about homily

Comments on homily

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to insert between existing elements

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