\ ˈprēst How to pronounce priest (audio) \

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 This was the case for Nesyamun, who worked as a scribe and priest at the temple in Karnak during the reign of Ramses XI, died in his mid-50s and was laid to rest more than three millennia ago. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, "3-D Printing Gives Voice to a 3,000-Year-Old Mummy," 23 Jan. 2020 Previously named in a 2005 lawsuit against Jesuit priests who abused children in Western Alaska. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Archdiocese commission accuses 14 Southcentral Alaska clergy and church employees of sexual abuse," 17 Jan. 2020 The Vatican is downplaying a defense of priestly celibacy by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI set to be issued as Pope Francis considers easing the prohibition on priests marrying. Carlin Becker, Washington Examiner, "'Cannot remain silent': Vatican scrambles to defuse controversy over Pope Emeritus Benedict opposition to married priests," 14 Jan. 2020 Nuns have traditionally enjoyed very little formal power in the Catholic Church—they are not allowed to become priests and are excluded from most leadership roles. Time, "'Our Work Is Helping People Find Happiness.' Meet the Leftist Nuns Helping Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 7 Jan. 2020 Kurtz pleaded guilty to molesting the child and was placed on probation, ordered to live in confinement at a Missouri retreat for wayward priests. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Code of silence reigns amid scandals, misbehavior at all-boys Catholic schools," 2 Jan. 2020 Nearly three-quarters, like McCormick, were priests from religious orders. Meghan Hoyer, The Denver Post, "Hundreds of accused clergy left off Catholic Church’s sex abuse lists," 28 Dec. 2019 Traditionally, becoming a priest requires three years of training at seminary school, New Hampshire Public Radio reports. USA TODAY, "Duck seeking duck, forest ornaments, Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding: News from around our 50 states," 13 Dec. 2019 The youngest brother, Jacques, who had yearned to become a Catholic priest, travelled to India and the Persian Gulf, expanding the firm’s reach. The Economist, "The glittering rise of the Cartiers," 14 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for priest

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for priest

Last Updated

29 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Priest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for priest


How to pronounce priest (audio)

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 How to pronounce priest (audio) \

Kids Definition of priest

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

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