priest·​hood | \ ˈprēst-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce priesthood (audio) , ˈprē-ˌstu̇d\

Definition of priesthood

1 : the office, dignity, or character of a priest
2 : the whole body of priests
3 : elite sense 1 the priesthood of the art world

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Examples of priesthood in a Sentence

an ancient civilization that was ruled by a priesthood What is the influence of the priesthood in today's society?

Recent Examples on the Web

In February, Theodore McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington, D.C., from 2001 until 2006, became the first cardinal in modern times to be dismissed from the priesthood. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 4 Apr. 2019 His call is shared by many in the priesthood, including clergy in Ireland, Germany and the U.S., and prominent lay groups. Karel Janicek, Fox News, "Catholic priest in Slovakia challenges celibacy rules," 21 Sep. 2018 Notably, the statement did not say the priest should leave the priesthood to take care of his child as a layman — the common default response by church superiors. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Priest’s son demands Vatican attention for clergy’s children," 20 Feb. 2019 Homosexuality has virtually nothing to do with the rape of children, and misdefining this criminal act confuses the discussion about the priesthood. WSJ, "Deal With the Priests Who Molest the Young," 25 Jan. 2019 More than 100 of the priests are dead, and many others are retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood or put on leave. Marc Levy, The Seattle Times, "Report: Pennsylvania priests molested over 1,000 children," 14 Aug. 2018 In 1978, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints struck down a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men from the Mormon priesthood., "This day in history," 9 June 2018 Balenciaga, who attended mass daily, considered joining the priesthood and had an uncle who was a parish priest, also made cassock soutaines for priests, including the one at his burial, Bolton said. Rosemary Feitelberg | Wwd,, "The Met’s Costume Institute unveils ‘Heavenly Bodies’ exhibition during preview before the Met Gala," 7 May 2018 Father Greg Galvin, who stood with other priests at the altar, entered the priesthood because of Kunz's example. Jessica Mcbride, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hundreds gather to mourn Fr. Alfred Kunz," 2 Mar. 2018

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

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

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Statistics for priesthood

Last Updated

9 May 2019

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Time Traveler for priesthood

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

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English Language Learners Definition of priesthood

: the job of being a priest
: a group of priests in a particular religion

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