plural priests
: 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

Example Sentences

He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. searched for a priest who could perform an exorcism
Recent Examples on the Web Created by a priest and later mayor of Dijon, France, named Canon Felix Kir, the original Kir cocktail combines white wine and Lejay Cassis, a crème de cassis (liqueur made from blackcurrants). Amanda Lauren, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Feb. 2023 The leader of the archdiocese, Archbishop Samuel Aquila, likewise defended the decision by the priest at All Souls to prevent Doty and Moore from receiving the Holy Eucharist. Jeremiah Poff, Washington Examiner, 15 Feb. 2023 Children who are members of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Worcester reacted as they were sprayed with water by a priest symbolically renewing their baptismal vows during a celebration of Ethiopian Epiphany on Jan 23., 8 Feb. 2023 After a Mass offered by a priest in a simple white robe, an orchestra followed the coffin to a dirt plot. Julie Turkewitz Federico Rios, New York Times, 17 Jan. 2023 The church, at the top of a hill overlooking agricultural lands and the village cemetery, was founded in the early 1800s by a priest from Syria, who is buried inside. Arkansas Online, 25 Dec. 2022 Not for this seven-year-old A 7-year-old cracked up her congregation after opting to chug the wine given to her by the priest at her first communion. CNN, 21 Dec. 2022 Ryder told Entertainment Weekly that, while on the set of the 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, the pair may have accidentally been wed for real by a Romanian priest. Andrea Wurzburger, Peoplemag, 11 Dec. 2022 The project stems from extensive research and exclusive source material, including the diary written by the priest Peder Olsen from his days as Quisling’s confidante. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 22 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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near priest

Cite this Entry

“Priest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

Old English prēost "priest," derived from Latin presbyter "priest, elder," from Greek presbyteros, comparative form of presbys "old man, elder"

More from Merriam-Webster on priest

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