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 My homily on immigration contained words that were hurtful to Muslims. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "Minnesota priest apologizes for calling Islam 'greatest threat in the world'," 30 Jan. 2020 At his installation ceremony that September, Perez spoke part of his homily in Spanish. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Cleveland Hispanic community saddened by Bishop Nelson J. Perez’s move to Philadelphia," 23 Jan. 2020 But LaCuesta allegedly turned his Dec. 8, 2018, homily instead into a message regarding suicide, questioning whether the teen would go to heaven. Detroit Free Press, "Mom sues Archdiocese of Detroit, priest over son's funeral service," 14 Nov. 2019 The following day, Pope Francis spoke out against violence toward women during his New Year’s Day homily in St. Peter’s Basilica, equating it to profaning God, according to the Associated Press. Josiah Bates, Time, "Pope Francis Regrets 'Bad Example' He Set After Angrily Slapping Away Hand of Female Worshiper," 1 Jan. 2020 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

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

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

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Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Homily.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homily?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=homily01. Accessed 18 Feb. 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

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Spanish Central: Translation of homily

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about homily

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