Definition of homily in English:



  • 1A religious discourse which is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction.

    • ‘His confidence in theology as spiritually relevant is most apparent in his published prayers and homilies.’
    • ‘The chief celebrant at the Mass was Fr. Fergal Cunnane and he also delivered a fine homily.’
    • ‘The spammed messages were sometimes accompanied by a religious homily or endorsement.’
    • ‘If only our homilies interested people as much as the subject of preaching, then we would be doing well.’
    • ‘At the conclusion of his installation homily, Benedict spoke eloquently of friendship in Christ, and how it opens the doors to mutual trust.’
    • ‘These specified readings and the sermon or homily that follows are meant to nourish the congregation at prayer in the rite that includes them.’
    • ‘Fr. Michael McManus delivered a lovely homily, reflecting on various aspects of Michael's life and his contribution to the life of the parish.’
    • ‘Such a situation will not be reversed by one hour on Sunday attending Mass and listening to a ten-minute homily.’
    • ‘In his homily at Malcom's funeral, Nebraska Bishop James Krotz told of visiting a nursing home in Nebraska City with Malcom.’
    • ‘Few Catholics today report that they have ever heard a homily supporting the Church's teaching on any sexual matter, let alone contraception.’
    • ‘Dawson said his funeral Mass, and as I watched him fight tears during the homily, I realized how profound his contact with my husband had been.’
    • ‘After the Gospel is read, the priest delivers a homily based on the Scripture readings.’
    • ‘We studied the texts of similar homilies by Popes John Paul I and II and by English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.’
    • ‘The conclave opens with a Mass of the Holy Spirit, including a key homily stressing the particular challenges facing the next pope.’
    • ‘I had seen him on October 22, 1978, in his first homily as pope, admonishing and encouraging the whole of humanity to be not afraid.’
    • ‘In fact, if you read Hebrews aloud, you will quickly recognize how much it resembles an oral proclamation or a stirring homily.’
    • ‘Fr. Patrick Mullins was the celebrant at the Requiem Mass and delivered a lovely homily, and his words of comfort and understanding were much appreciated by the family.’
    • ‘For preachers eager to hone their skills in designing a sermon, ‘Speaking Parables’ provides 14 homilies, each followed by several pages of retrospective analysis.’
    • ‘It will conclude with Mass at 11 p.m. at which Fr. Brendan Kilcoyne will be the main celebrant and will deliver the homily.’
    • ‘I have often used these prayers for sermon illustrations and have even built whole homilies around them.’
    sermon, lecture, discourse, address, lesson, talk, speech, oration, declamation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A tedious moralizing lecture.
      ‘she delivered her homily about the need for patience’
      • ‘Usually it was a long and, I often felt, unnecessarily drawn-out and tedious experience where worthy but dull homilies were addressed to the assembled Gaels.’
      • ‘Having delivered myself of that Friday afternoon piece of advice and homily, can we turn then to the preposed orders and directions.’
      • ‘And I confess, all political affiliations aside, the President's slow, studied attempts at sincerity and moralistic homilies make my teeth ache.’
      • ‘What is wrong is the inability to resist the temptation of delivering a moralistic little homily when someone does take out one of your seductively promoted loans.’
      • ‘His collection of autobiographical essays is studded with the kind of homespun homilies so beloved of salty old backwoodsmen and Presidential candidates: ‘Hard work is where a man finds peace,’ for example.’
      • ‘Indeed, he now regularly appears at right-wing seminars and lectures to deliver his homilies on the President's failings as a man and as a leader.’
      • ‘The next day the Chancellor went to the Mansion House, probably in the same creased suit, and delivered his annual homily on the state of the economy.’
      • ‘Here, everyone is out for himself, the weak are at the mercy of the powerful, and the vast overwhelming majority is mired in a slave morality in which they accept the sugarcoated homilies of the powers to be.’
      • ‘He went on a chat show and delivered another one of his standard homilies on how homosexuals are killing the theater.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin homilia, from Greek, ‘discourse, conversation’ (in ecclesiastical use, ‘sermon’), from homilos ‘crowd’.