pres·​by·​ter | \ ˈprez-bə-tər How to pronounce presbyter (audio) , ˈpres- \

Definition of presbyter

1 : a member of the governing body of an early Christian church
2 : a member of the order of priests in churches having episcopal hierarchies that include bishops, priests, and deacons

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Other Words from presbyter

presbyterate \ prez-​ˈbi-​tə-​rət How to pronounce presbyter (audio) , pres-​ , -​ˌrāt \ noun

Examples of presbyter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Rev. Allen D. Timm, executive presbyter of the Presbytery Church in Detroit, said the church is waiting to hear from the general assembly as to when volunteers will be dispatched to Houston. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroit mobilizes for Harvey victims: Here's how you can help," 29 Aug. 2017 Before coming to Birmingham, Webster had served 18 years as executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca in southern New Mexico. Greg Garrison,, "Birmingham's First Presbyterian pastor plans to retire," 19 July 2017

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

First Known Use of presbyter

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for presbyter

Late Latin, elder, priest, from Greek presbyteros, comparative of presbys old man, elder; akin to Greek pro before and Greek bainein to go — more at for, come

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Time Traveler for presbyter

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The first known use of presbyter was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Presbyter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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