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 In his homily, Francis said Easter offers a message of hope and new starts. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Pope urges hope amid 'darkness' of pandemic in Easter vigil," 3 Apr. 2021 During his homily, Francis said Lent was a time to take stock and rediscover a path to God. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Pope celebrates pandemic-aware Ash Wednesday at Vatican," 17 Feb. 2021 Asare-Dankwah officiated the funeral and, during his homily, made remarks about the plaintiff, who hadn’t seen the priest in more than a decade, the suit claims. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Archdiocese suspends pastor of St. Peter Claver after he is accused of child rape in lawsuit," 27 Jan. 2021 On the morning after the Inauguration, Barber will give the homily at the official inaugural prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "“A Broken Land”: Biden and the True Costs of Unity," 21 Jan. 2021 During his homily, the Roman Catholic leader urged followers to reach out to the needy, noting that Jesus Christ was considered an outsider. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Pope Francis celebrates low-key Christmas Eve Mass amid coronavirus restrictions," 25 Dec. 2020 In his homily, Francis kept hitting a theme that resonates to this day, doesn’t it? Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "We Don’t Need a President to Save Us, We Need to Be Heroes," 14 Dec. 2020 The service ended with a homily from Father Steve Angi. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, "‘God broke the mold when he made Adam.’ Funeral services held for Cpl. Adam McMillan," 31 Oct. 2020 Gawronski, pastor of both Sacred Heart Parish in Grosse Ile and St. Cyprian Parish in Riverview, gave the homily. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Funeral celebrates Catholic priest who died in boat capsizing," 26 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for homily

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Homily.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homily. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for homily



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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