\ ˈprēst How to pronounce priest (audio) \
plural priests

Definition of priest

: someone who is authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God specifically : an Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic clergyperson ranking below a bishop and above a deacon

Examples of priest in a Sentence

He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. searched for a priest who could perform an exorcism
Recent Examples on the Web The priest is not the hero; the Levite is not the hero. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 26 Sep. 2022 The frightened priest Don Abbondio remains an unreformed—if somehow sympathetic—coward to the end. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 23 Sep. 2022 Danielsen Lie will play the priest Peder Olsen who acted as Quisling’s counselor in prison until he was executed on Oct. 24, 1945. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 22 Sep. 2022 The priest, in a brief Globe interview, declined to confirm the visits. Jonathan Saltzman,, 14 Sep. 2022 The retired Episcopal priest attended a High Mass of Requiem at All Saints, Margaret Street on Friday, later viewing a broadcast of that evening's service at St. Paul's Cathedral. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, 11 Sep. 2022 Shout out to Jason Miller as the young priest questioning his faith, who turns out to be a hero. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2022 Father Andrew, the youthful priest, sometimes changed out of his black cassock into street clothes and drove military materiel some 700 miles across Ukraine, to the front. George Packer, The Atlantic, 6 Sep. 2022 The clergy’s authority — there are eight members, including Potapov as the head priest — has waned in her eyes. Mariya Manzhos, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of priest

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for priest

Middle English preist, from Old English prēost, ultimately from Late Latin presbyter — more at presbyter

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Time Traveler for priest

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The first known use of priest was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Priest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for priest


\ ˈprēst How to pronounce priest (audio) \

Kids Definition of priest

: a person who has the authority to lead or perform religious ceremonies

More from Merriam-Webster on priest

Nglish: Translation of priest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of priest for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about priest


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