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

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sacerdotal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 9 Feb. 2023.

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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?