sac·​er·​do·​tal ˌsa-sər-ˈdō-tᵊl How to pronounce sacerdotal (audio)
: of or relating to priests or a priesthood : priestly
sacerdotal robes
sacerdotal authority
: of, relating to, or suggesting sacerdotalism
sacerdotally adverb

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Sacerdotal is one of a host of English words derived from the Latin adjective sacer, meaning "sacred." Other words derived from sacer include desecrate, sacrifice, sacrilege, consecrate, sacrament, and even execrable (developed from the Latin word exsecrari, meaning "to put under a curse"). One surprising sacer descendant is sacrum, referring to the series of five vertebrae in the lower back connected to the pelvis. In Latin this bone was called the os sacrum, or "holy bone," a translation of the Greek hieron osteon.

Examples of sacerdotal in a Sentence

sacerdotal garments such as a cassock and miter
Recent Examples on the Web Prosperity is lauded dozens of times in the Book of Mormon, so knocking for commissions can feel almost sacerdotal. Tad Friend, The New Yorker, 1 Aug. 2022 Diminution drains this office of the sacerdotal pomposities that have encrusted it. Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 1 Aug. 2017 The brand inspires a sacerdotal devotion in many of its workers (its archives contain the papers of one of the atelier’s premieres, or heads, who served from 1947 to 1990). Matthew Schneier, New York Times, 1 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sacerdotal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin sacerdotalis, from sacerdot-, sacerdos priest, from sacer sacred + -dot-, -dos (akin to facere to make) — more at sacred, do

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sacerdotal was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near sacerdotal

Cite this Entry

“Sacerdotal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


sac·​er·​do·​tal ˌsas-ər-ˈdōt-ᵊl How to pronounce sacerdotal (audio)
: of or relating to priests or a priesthood : priestly
sacerdotally adverb
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