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

While Europe continues to be a dry well for priestly vocations, Africa is a wellspring. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Pope Francis Goes to Africa, With Renewed Focus on Poverty and Climate," 4 Sep. 2019 Celibacy was made law only during the Middle Ages, in part as a way to keep priestly wealth inside the church, rather than being divvied up among heirs. Washington Post, "A bid to allow married priests in the Amazon ignites debate about celibacy," 16 Aug. 2019 The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is full of artifacts that testify to the ancient Jewish presence in the Holy Land, including silver amulets with a priestly benediction from the sixth century b.c. Rachel Poser, Harper's magazine, "Common Ground," 19 Aug. 2019 During his studies in an Episcopalian seminary, though, Keyes was instructed that the priestly confessor acts on God’s behalf. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I confess': should the ‘seal of the confessional’ protect pedophiles?," 4 Aug. 2019 His outlaw vibe also works as a stark contrast to the priestly image of Tchami, with whom Malaa collaborates with on the No Redemption EP and tours, giving the duo a play on duality. Kat Bein, Billboard, "11 DJs Who Wear Masks and the Stories Behind Them," 29 July 2019 As a reward for his service, Aaron was anointed as Israel’s first high priest, while his tribe of the Levi was chosen for priestly service (Exodus 28–29). National Geographic, "Why Moses’s brother worshipped a golden calf," 3 May 2019 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

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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Last Updated

27 Sep 2019

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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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to be made up of

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