\ˈprēst \

Definition of priest 

: one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God specifically : an Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic clergyman ranking below a bishop and above a deacon

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Examples of priest in a Sentence

He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. searched for a priest who could perform an exorcism

Recent Examples on the Web

Charles Coughlin, an Irish Catholic priest, used his national radio show, which reached millions, to stir up anti-Jewish sentiment. Eric Ginsburg, Teen Vogue, "American Nazis and Nazi Sympathizers Have Been Around Since the 1930’s," 26 Nov. 2018 In ancient Greece, the intersex goddess Cybele was worshipped by trans priests. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Transgender Women Are Women. Transgender Men Are Men.," 23 Oct. 2018 Win McNamee/Getty Images The embattled archbishop of Washington, DC, has resigned over his role in covering up several instances of abuse of children by Catholic priests. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Pope Francis accepted DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl’s resignation over sex abuse crisis," 12 Oct. 2018 Prosecutor Sean Sullivan argued that the 80-year-old priest was a danger to the community. Fox News, "The Latest: US judge orders priest held on abuse charges," 25 Sep. 2018 The priest is one of the two currently facing criminal charges for more recent allegations. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Pennsylvania Report Alleges Child Sex Abuse by More Than 300 Priests," 14 Aug. 2018 The retired Roman Catholic priest is in the fight of his life. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Father Faucher's fall from grace: Once a respected priest, now he holds Mass in jail," 4 June 2018 Days later, the priest and most of his family were dead, too. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "With Ebola at a “critical point” in Congo, aid groups scramble to limit the outbreak," 2 June 2018 For more than a decade, the French Roman Catholic priest had been documenting the mass graves left by Nazi firing squads in the forests and fields of Eastern Europe. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "He’s building a record about those persecuted because of their religion," 5 May 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for priest

Middle English preist, from Old English prēost, ultimately from Late Latin presbyter — more at presbyter

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Statistics for priest

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for priest

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

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More Definitions for priest



English Language Learners Definition of priest

: a person who has the authority to lead or perform ceremonies in some religions and especially in some Christian religions


\ˈprēst \

Kids Definition of priest

: a person who has the authority to lead or perform religious ceremonies

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More from Merriam-Webster on priest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with priest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for priest

Spanish Central: Translation of priest

Nglish: Translation of priest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of priest for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about priest

Comments on priest

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


living or existing for a long time

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