\ ˈprēch How to pronounce preach (audio) \
preached; preaching; preaches

Definition of preach

intransitive verb

1 : to deliver a sermon
2 : to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action specifically : to exhort in an officious or tiresome manner

transitive verb

1 : to set forth in a sermon preach the gospel
2 : to advocate earnestly preached revolution
3 : to deliver (something, such as a sermon) publicly
4 : to bring, put, or affect by preaching preached the … church out of debtAmer. Guide Series: Va.

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Other Words from preach

preachingly \ ˈprē-​chiŋ-​lē How to pronounce preachingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for preach


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Examples of preach in a Sentence

Have you ever heard that minister preach? The minister preached to the congregation about the need for tolerance. His followers listened to him preach the gospel. The priest preached a regular sermon that Sunday. Their mother has always preached the value of a good education. Practice what you preach—don't smoke if you tell your children not to smoke. The mayor continues to preach about the need for patience. I don't like being preached at about how I should live my life.
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Recent Examples on the Web Nowhere is this more evident than in business, where everything from MBA programs to advice columns preach the benefits of constantly touting your own achievements. Ryan Wong, Quartz at Work, "Leaders need their “water carriers” now more than ever," 29 June 2020 Apple, for example, does significant business in China, but is at the same time expected to preach Western standards on issues like freedom of speech. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Zoom promised to be better at censoring global calls at Beijing’s request," 12 June 2020 The Grammy-winning musician regularly uses her social media platforms to preach body positivity. Claire Gillespie,, "Fat Shamers, Lizzo Has Come for You in This Epic New Takedown on TikTok," 10 June 2020 Now, there are some who have accused reporters who’ve preached caution about resuming sports during the COVID-19 pandemic of wanting to ruin sports. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Sports can be the great healer, but we're not there yet," 1 June 2020 That mission fell in line with White's approach to life as a licensed Baptist minister who had preached in more than 100 churches. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Reggie White signs free-agent deal with the Green Bay Packers," 18 May 2020 The Sandell Drive-In in Clarendon, Texas, outside Amarillo has been repurposed as a drive-in church by a minister, who stands before the big screen with a microphone to preach to parishioners parked in front of him. Thomas Black,, "Drive-In Theaters Are Jammed With Moviegoers Escaping Lockdown," 13 May 2020 Any politician who has ever preached that family values are the bedrock of American society should be rushing to rectify this. Otis R. Taylor Jr.,, "Fired for putting family first: Coronavirus relief law excludes many," 30 Apr. 2020 In 1975, his government publicly executed 10 sheikhs who had preached against a new law that gave women equal inheritance rights. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "Somaliland’s sportswomen are breaking tape – and barriers," 21 Apr. 2020

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for preach

Middle English prechen, from Anglo-French precher, from Late Latin praedicare, from Latin, to proclaim, make known, from prae- pre- + dicare to proclaim — more at diction

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Time Traveler for preach

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for preach

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for preach


How to pronounce preach (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preach

: to make a speech about religion in a church or other public place : to deliver a sermon
: to write or speak about (something) in an approving way : to say that (something) is good or necessary
: to write or speak in an annoying way about the right way to behave


\ ˈprēch How to pronounce preach (audio) \
preached; preaching

Kids Definition of preach

1 : to give a sermon
2 : to urge publicly preach patience

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More from Merriam-Webster on preach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for preach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preach

Spanish Central: Translation of preach

Nglish: Translation of preach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preach for Arabic Speakers

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