pil·grim·age | \ˈpil-grə-mij \

Definition of pilgrimage 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a journey of a pilgrim especially : one to a shrine or a sacred place

2 : the course of life on earth


pilgrimaged; pilgrimaging

Definition of pilgrimage (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go on a pilgrimage

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for pilgrimage

Synonyms: Verb

journey, peregrinate, tour, travel, trek, voyage

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pilgrimage in a Sentence


He made a pilgrimage to Mecca. The tradition of pilgrimage is important in Islam. The family went on a pilgrimage to historical battlefields. The poet's grave site has become a place of pilgrimage.


tourists pilgrimaging to all of the traditional destinations across Europe
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The institute will serve as a permanent exhibition space; enthusiasts will be able to make a pilgrimage to Giacometti’s studio, preserved like a holy shrine after his death in 1966 and now reconstructed. The Economist, "How Alberto Giacometti became a legend," 14 June 2018 With the 50th anniversary of her death approaching, some Chinese who tried to organize a pilgrimage to her tomb were again harassed by police. Lian Xi, WSJ, "The Chinese Dissident Who Wrote in Blood," 13 Apr. 2018 As a professor of religious studies, I am fascinated by the people who visit these small communities in search of strange creatures, and why many of these small towns have come to embrace their roles as pilgrimage sites. Joseph P. Laycock, Smithsonian, "A Search for Mysteries and Monsters in Small Town America," 11 July 2018 Monday’s session was the second time Mr. Macron addressed parliament there since taking office a little over a year ago, establishing Versailles as a site of annual political pilgrimage. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "Macron Tries to Shore Up Support for French Economic Overhaul," 9 July 2018 No, the only reason to make a pilgrimage to see this problematic relative is if the man ever treated you with love and kindness — even as a child. Philip Galanes, New York Times, "Must I Visit My Dying and Dangerously Facebook-Active Uncle?," 29 Mar. 2018 Visiting the restaurants and bars Bourdain featured on his show and on his Instagram account became a sort of pilgrimage for fans. Jenn Harris, latimes.com, "From In-N-Out to Chateau Marmont, Anthony Bourdain understood what makes L.A. great," 8 June 2018 That's a place of pilgrimage for food lovers, and not just where the two countries meet in French and Spanish Basque country. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Bar Biscay is a trippy vision of a land far away," 5 Apr. 2018 More Must Sees Woodland Chapels, the Vatican’s first ever entry in the Architecture Biennale, is both pilgrimage and installation. Erica Firpo, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Do the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018," 31 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pilgrimage

Share pilgrimage

Statistics for pilgrimage

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pilgrimage

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pilgrimage



English Language Learners Definition of pilgrimage

: a journey to a holy place

: a journey to a special or unusual place


pil·grim·age | \ˈpil-grə-mij \

Kids Definition of pilgrimage

: a journey made by a pilgrim

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pilgrimage

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!