\ 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

Another high-profile prison homicide was that of former priest John Geoghan, who was strangled and stomped to death by another inmate in a Massachusetts facility in 2003. Fox News, "Pedophiles in prison: The hell that would have awaited Epstein if he'd stayed behind bars," 22 Aug. 2019 Father Roberto Mena, parish priest of St Michael’s Church in nearby Forest, says his parishioners are frightened. The Economist, "What do Donald Trump’s immigration raids accomplish?," 22 Aug. 2019 In the 1930s, radio priest Father Charles Coughlin had a fervent following in America for his virulently anti-Semitic sermons. Jeffrey Fleishman,, "Trump’s Jewish comments play on anti-Semitism in culture, film and art," 22 Aug. 2019 Farmers, human rights activists and even priests were being caught in the crossfire. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "The Flores Agreement Protected Migrant Children for Decades. It’s Under Threat.," 20 Aug. 2019 Fifteen archdiocese priests have been suspended or permanently removed from the priesthood in the past 20 years because of accusations of misconduct involving children. Dan Horn,, "West Side priest Geoff Drew indicted on rape charges," 19 Aug. 2019 Here, the Catholic Church still operates one of two treatment centers in the United States for pedophile priests. Matt Farwell, The New Republic, "Jeffrey Epstein Chose New Mexico for a Reason," 15 Aug. 2019 That man was Padre Flor María Rigoni, an Italian priest with a tumbling white beard, who dedicated his life, at age 11, to serving migrants worldwide. Wendy Fry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padre Rigoni lectures at UCSD on history of migration," 30 July 2019 Police just fired tear gas to protestors who were advancing towards the Hong Kong Liaison Office, and this priest, comes forward—seemingly out of nowhere—and confronts the police. William Z. Nardi, National Review, "The Hong Kong Crisis Is Stuck in a Dangerous Holding Pattern," 6 Aug. 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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Statistics for priest

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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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 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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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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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