\ 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 church and foreign donors who once supported the shelter said Daschbach confessed to the abuse, but the former priest and his lawyers have at various times refused to comment. NBC News, 21 Dec. 2021 The abusive practice came under scrutiny in 2014 after the Chilean investigative news agency CIPER published an article on a handful of coercive adoptions, documenting the roles played by a priest and a doctor. New York Times, 17 Dec. 2021 Filmed conversations followed with his five surviving brothers and sisters, all in their 80s, and Camillo’s girlfriend’s sister — plus a priest and a psychiatrist for good measure. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2021 Rerum novarum resulted from the efforts of many people, but one of the driving forces behind its publication was the Jesuit priest and philosopher Matteo Liberatore (1810-1892). Alejandro Chafuen, Forbes, 10 Dec. 2021 Dozens more people, including a priest and students at Waukesha Catholic School, needed emergency care at five other hospitals. Anchorage Daily News, 23 Nov. 2021 One priest in the community and multiple parishioners and Catholic schoolchildren were injured and hospitalized in the parade, according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Nov. 2021 The Haitian priest and nine other people had just been kidnapped while driving through the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in early April. DÁnica Coto, ajc, 9 Nov. 2021 Drew, who was ordained a priest in 2004, most recently was pastor at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township and also has worked at St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, 2 Dec. 2021

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Priest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for priest



English Language Learners Definition of priest

: a person who has the authority to lead or perform ceremonies in some religions and especially in some Christian religions


\ 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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