pil·​grim | \ ˈpil-grəm How to pronounce pilgrim (audio) \

Definition of pilgrim

1 : one who journeys in foreign lands : wayfarer
2 : one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
3 capitalized : one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

Examples of pilgrim in a Sentence

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims traveled to Mecca.
Recent Examples on the Web The plague was also carried down the well-trodden paths of medieval pilgrims; holy sites became additional epicenters of regional, national, and international propagation. National Geographic, "Indeed, historians have argued that the Black Death paved the way for a new wave of opportunity, creativity, and wealth from which would flourish the art, culture, and ideas of the Renaissance, and the beginnings of a recognizably modern Europe.," 23 Apr. 2020 In Jerusalem, where thousands of pilgrims usually participate in the march, this year was limited to a handful of participants. BostonGlobe.com, "Palm Sunday services held without public; some on rooftops," 5 Apr. 2020 One of the most vulnerable is Iraq, which receives a quarter of its imports from Iran and where tens of millions of Iranian pilgrims travel every year for visits to Shiite shrines. Los Angeles Times, "How Iran became a hot zone for coronavirus in Middle East," 25 Feb. 2020 There were no throngs of pilgrims below his window in Saint Peter’s Square, no visible celebration of any kind to be found inside the walls of Vatican City. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "From Pope Francis to the Bond King, universal basic income is gaining support around the world," 16 May 2020 Shielding Mecca from the pandemic is crucial for the Saudi royal family, which grounds its rule in guardianship of the birthplace of Islam that's visited by millions of Muslim pilgrims each year. Kathleen Hunter, Bloomberg.com, "It’s Trump Versus the States as Virus Rages On," 10 May 2020 The Qarmatians were said to have killed scores of pilgrims and absconded with the black stone of the Kaaba—which Muslims believed was sent down from heaven. Ken Chitwood, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Pandemic Isn’t the First Time the Hajj Has Been Disrupted for Muslims," 23 Apr. 2020 In Jerusalem, thousands of pilgrims typically participate in a Palm Sunday march, but this year it was limited to a small group of Franciscan monks and Roman Catholic faithful. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Palm Sunday ceremonies in Vatican City, Jerusalem limited over coronavirus fears as Easter restrictions loom," 5 Apr. 2020 Troubled Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is preparing for the occasion, where pilgrims from around the world flock to the city. Washington Post, "Relic thought to be from Jesus’ manger arrives in Bethlehem," 1 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pilgrim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pilgrim

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pilgrim

Middle English, from Anglo-French pelerin, pilegrin, from Late Latin pelegrinus, alteration of Latin peregrinus foreigner, from peregrinus, adjective, foreign, from peregri abroad, from per through + agr-, ager land — more at for, acre

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pilgrim

Time Traveler for pilgrim

Time Traveler

The first known use of pilgrim was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pilgrim

Last Updated

13 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pilgrim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pilgrim. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pilgrim


How to pronounce pilgrim (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pilgrim

: someone who travels to a holy place
: one of the people who traveled by boat from England and created the first permanent settlement in New England at Plymouth in 1620


pil·​grim | \ ˈpil-grəm How to pronounce pilgrim (audio) \

Kids Definition of pilgrim

1 : a person who travels to a holy place as an act of religious devotion
2 capitalized : one of the English colonists who founded the first permanent settlement in New England at Plymouth in 1620

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pilgrim

What made you want to look up pilgrim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!