priest·​ly | \ ˈprēst-lē How to pronounce priestly (audio) \

Definition of priestly

1 : of or relating to a priest or the priesthood : sacerdotal
2 : characteristic of or befitting a priest

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Other Words from priestly

priestliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for priestly


clerical, clerkly, ministerial, pastoral, sacerdotal


lay, nonclerical, secular, temporal

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Examples of priestly in a Sentence

He is a kind, priestly man. majestically robed in priestly garments

Recent Examples on the Web

In addition, the Catholic Church allows married Anglican clergy who convert to remain in priestly ministry. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Issue of married Catholic priests gains traction under pope," 23 Oct. 2018 The harvest rain’s principal contribution to the origins of religion was to spawn a priestly class—diviners and shamans—to forecast or summon it. Andrew Stark, WSJ, "‘Living With the Gods’ Review: The Gang’s All Here," 16 Nov. 2018 The retreat master never warned us about priestly abuse. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "The Sexual Revolution and the Church," 24 Oct. 2018 In Allentown, the grand jury said Schlert was involved in the diocese’s 2002 effort to discredit a victim of priestly abuse. Michael Rubinkam, The Seattle Times, "As bishop looks on, abusive Father Ned gets a new assignment," 4 Sep. 2018 To find clergy, Soroka traveled to Ukraine where priestly vocations are thriving. Kristin E. Holmes,, "The archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia retires and goes home," 10 June 2018 El Bosque generated some 30 priests and four bishops before Karadima was removed from ministry and a priestly society affiliated with El Bosque was closed. Nicole Winfield,, "Pope Francis digs deeper into roots of Chile sex abuse scandal," 2 June 2018 Cecelia Price, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said the archdiocese has made priestly vocations a priority for years, which is why a large number were ordained Saturday. Shannon Hall, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville archdiocese ordains 5 priests, the most in 18 years," 26 May 2018 Father Kiely, who began his priestly life at Holy Family Parish in Duxbury, said Nieme, who speaks in heavily accented English, will need to work on his communication skills. Thomas Farragher,, "As a child, he tended sheep in the Congo. Now, he’ll tend souls in Boston," 1 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for priestly

The first known use of priestly was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of priestly

: of or relating to a priest or to priests as a group : like a priest

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More from Merriam-Webster on priestly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with priestly

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Spanish Central: Translation of priestly

Nglish: Translation of priestly for Spanish Speakers

Comments on priestly

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having no equal

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