sex·​ton ˈsek-stən How to pronounce sexton (audio)
: a church officer or employee who takes care of the church property and performs related minor duties (such as ringing the bell for services and digging graves)

Examples of sexton in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At several synagogues, services were interrupted as the sextons stood up and called out the names of young men who were being summoned to duty; other worshipers, on hearing the news, quickly folded their prayer shawls and departed; some returned later, in uniform, to bid their families goodbye. Time, 11 Oct. 2023 The pair grew up in Seminary, a historically Black community near the Virginia Theological Seminary, where their grandfather worked as a sexton. Peter Jamison, Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2023 Jana Litman moves from her part-time position into the new role as the second full-time sexton. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 16 Dec. 2022 The board has also welcomed a full-time sexton at Spring Grove Cemetery. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 16 Dec. 2022 Junior Roop, the sexton of a cemetery near the spill site, said people could smell the oil in town. CBS News, 9 Dec. 2022 Eleanor’s husband, Jim Mills, was the sexton of their church, St. John the Evangelist. Time, 16 Sep. 2022 As a porter and a church sexton, Cheatham was hired to work for the Fire Department in 1888. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, 25 Mar. 2022 Salt Lake City leaders unveiled a new arboretum Saturday morning at the city’s historic cemetery, dedicated to its longest-serving sexton, Mark Smith. The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Nov. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sexton.' 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 secresteyn, sexteyn, from Anglo-French segrestein, from Medieval Latin sacristanus — more at sacristan

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sexton was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sexton

Cite this Entry

“Sexton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


sex·​ton ˈsek-stən How to pronounce sexton (audio)
: an official of a church who takes care of church buildings and property

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