fri·​ar ˈfrī(-ə)r How to pronounce friar (audio)
: a member of a mendicant order

Examples of friar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cross itself was erected to commemorate the death of 21 Franciscan friars during a revolt against colonial occupation. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 29 Mar. 2024 Junípero Serra, the controversial Franciscan friar who established the mission system in California, was also on the list. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2024 The post itself shows three photos of the actor posing with priests and friars. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 4 Jan. 2024 In other words, these are commoners: townsfolk, friars, merchants and scholars, among others. Margherita Bassi, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez and The Hacienda’s founding residents, staff and community partners along with Mission friars and San Luis Rey Tribal Captain Mel Vernon were among those attending. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Nov. 2023 It was conceived by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún and written and illustrated by a group of Indigenous scholars at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2023 Serra Mesa is named for Spanish friar Junipero Serra. San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2023 Others showed the distinct hairstyles described in the writings of Bernardino de Sahagún, a 16th-century Franciscan friar who spent 50 years studying the Aztec culture, language and history. Merilee Grindle, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'friar.' 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 frere, fryer, from Anglo-French frere, friere, fraire literally, brother, from Latin fratr-, frater — more at brother

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of friar was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near friar

Cite this Entry

“Friar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


fri·​ar ˈfrī(-ə)r How to pronounce friar (audio)
: a member of a Roman Catholic religious order for men
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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