ser·​mon | \ ˈsər-mən How to pronounce sermon (audio) \

Definition of sermon

1 : a religious discourse delivered in public usually by a member of the clergy as a part of a worship service
2 : a speech on conduct or duty

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sermon

sermonic \ ˌsər-​ˈmä-​nik How to pronounce sermonic (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for sermon


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of sermon in a Sentence

He preached a sermon on the importance of kindness. Dad gave me a sermon yesterday about doing my homework.
Recent Examples on the Web Her sermon this year focuses on defining Judaism as a religion rather than a race. Gabe Friedman,, "This Yom Kippur, rabbis across the country focused their sermons on racial injustice," 30 Sep. 2020 His controversial sermon came shortly after a Wisconsin priest, the Rev. James Altman, made a viral video arguing that Catholic Democrats were doomed to hell — both reflecting today’s divide in the Catholic Church. Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune, "Minnesota priest who says COVID-19 is a scam told to halt such preaching," 24 Sep. 2020 Usually on Rosh Hashanah, hundreds of people, including the Shapiro family, fill the seats to join in services, the highlight of which is the Rabbi’s sermon. Joan Elovitz Kazan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Treats symbolize hope for sweetness as Jewish community prepares for a socially distant Rosh Hashanah," 12 Sep. 2020 Dunn filled about 80 ziplock plastic bags with four consecrated wafers for home communion, a copy of his Sunday sermon and the Sunday bulletin in each bag. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post, "Aurora church starts “drive-by” Sunday mass to slow coronavirus spread," 15 Mar. 2020 But unless someone actually researched every sermon, how would members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know how various themes stack up? Enter Quentin Spencer, a senior data analyst in Lubbock, Texas, who took on the task. Kathy Stephenson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Data reveals what Latter-day Saint leaders talk about at General Conference and how it changes over time," 29 Sep. 2020 Like a preacher delivering an impassioned sermon, Szekely has dedicated her life to improving the spiritual and physical wellbeing of others. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: At 98, Deborah Szekely starts a new project," 23 Sep. 2020 In his sermon, Curry specifically referred to enslaved people in the antebellum South, and their spiritual hymn about the power of love. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Bishop Curry Says He Felt the Presence of Enslaved People at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Wedding," 23 Sep. 2020 Their hope is that during a Sunday sermon, a preacher will encourage his or her flock to sign up. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "Covid-19 vaccine trials have been slow to recruit Black and Latino people -- and that could delay a vaccine," 16 Aug. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of sermon

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sermon

Middle English, from Anglo-French sermun, from Medieval Latin sermon-, sermo, from Latin, speech, conversation, from serere to link together — more at series

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sermon

Time Traveler for sermon

Time Traveler

The first known use of sermon was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sermon

Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sermon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sermon


How to pronounce sermon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sermon

: a speech about a moral or religious subject that is usually given by a religious leader
informal + usually disapproving : a serious talk about how someone should behave


ser·​mon | \ ˈsər-mən How to pronounce sermon (audio) \

Kids Definition of sermon

1 : a speech usually by a priest, minister, or rabbi for the purpose of giving religious instruction
2 : a serious talk to a person about his or her conduct

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sermon

What made you want to look up sermon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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