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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Despite these strong words, the court ruling didn’t explicitly come up during the homily at Sunday’s service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, blocks from where protesters had gathered over the past three days. Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2022 Family members and other funeral attendees paid their respects at the funeral, where Archbishop Humberto S. Medeiros, right, gave the homily. BostonGlobe.com, 16 June 2022 On Wednesday, Morales concelebrated the Garcias’ joint funeral, though García-Siller gave the homily. Teo Armus, Washington Post, 2 June 2022 Father Edward Estok, pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish in North Royalton, will provide the homily. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, 28 Sep. 2021 Cardinal Timothy Dolan delivered a homily on the life of one of their own, Dorothy Day, a native New Yorker and anarchist writer and activist who died in 1980. New York Times, 21 Jan. 2022 Father Edward Estok, pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish in North Royalton, will provide the homily. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, 28 Sep. 2021 Tutu also delivered a homily to 500 people at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Madison. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Dec. 2021 As a humble, Catholic man, devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe and considered a family man who knew how to unite nations through his song, this is how Fernández was remembered during the homily of the present body mass on the stage of his Arena VFG. Diana García, The Arizona Republic, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Homily.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homily. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on homily

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about homily


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