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 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 Pakistan’s coronavirus cases jumped after more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the disease. Faseeh Mangi, Bloomberg.com, "Pakistan Virus Cases Double Led by Pilgrims Returning From Iran," 8 May 2020 Their political tug-of-war kept various pilgrims from Mecca and Medina for eight years, until A.D. 991. Ken Chitwood, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Pandemic Isn’t the First Time the Hajj Has Been Disrupted for Muslims," 23 Apr. 2020 And so Rome without pilgrims feels like a very strange place to all of us. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Jobless claims soared. So did stocks. What’s behind this week’s markets moves?," 10 Apr. 2020

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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pilgrim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pilgrim. Accessed 30 May. 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

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!