Definition: Priest

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From Middle English prest, preest, from Old English prēost (priest), from Late Latin presbyter, from Ancient Greek πρεσβύτερος or presbúteros), from πρέσβυς or présbus (elder, older). Reinforced in Middle English by Old French prestre, also from Latin presbyter.


priest (plural priests, feminine priestess)

  1. A religious clergyman/clergywoman/clergyperson who is trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple.
    The priest at the Catholic church heard his confession.
    The Shinto priest burnt incense for his ancestors.
    The Israelite priests were descended from Moses' brother Aaron.
  2. a blunt tool, used for quickly stunning and killing fish
  3. (Mormonism) the highest office in the Aaronic priesthood

Derived terms

  • archpriest
  • high priest
  • priesthood
  • priestly


priest (third-person singular simple present priests, present participle priesting, simple past and past participle priested)

  1. To ordain as a priest.
    Father Tom was priested when I was going to Catholic high school.


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