Definition of priest in English:



  • 1An ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church, authorized to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments:

    ‘the priest celebrated mass at a small altar off the north transept’
    • ‘To be ordained a priest in the Church, a person had to be able to read Syriac and learn the Syriac liturgy by heart.’
    • ‘Within months, the masons had built a stone church and the priests had baptized the king and most of the nobility.’
    • ‘Coun Dodd is an Anglican priest who spent several years as a hospital chaplain at Castle Hill hospital near Hull.’
    • ‘Catholic priests are the church leaders, with one serving several villages in a contiguous area.’
    • ‘Local priests hold religious services and perform baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals.’
    • ‘In the Eastern Orthodox religion, priests are the primary religious authorities; they are permitted to marry.’
    • ‘Most important, the closings underscore what the much-discussed priest shortage really means.’
    • ‘Catholic priests or Protestant ministers can be most stimulating in such a discussion.’
    • ‘After leaving Perth he was a priest at the Anglican Church of St Augustine at Bulli in New South Wales.’
    • ‘Marriage may be conducted by a celebrant, a Church priest, or a vicar.’
    • ‘Roman Catholic priests lead mass and deliver the sacrament.’
    • ‘Catholic priests and other ministers have taken vows of poverty or vowed to live meekly.’
    • ‘Around about age 13 I got the idea that I ought to be a priest in the Anglican church.’
    • ‘Because of the strong influence of the Catholic Church, priests are the most important religious practitioners at the local level.’
    • ‘Ordained an Anglican priest, he did keep up with his era's intellectual currents.’
    • ‘They were delighted to have me for Mass in their little church as the parish priest visited only every three months.’
    • ‘The priest blesses the couple, and they officially become husband and wife.’
    • ‘Classes were taught by the Jesuit priests and brothers and a few civilian instructors.’
    • ‘The priests of the Roman Catholic Church are ordained men, accustomed to trust and honor in the communities they serve.’
    • ‘Three members of the congregation at St James' Church in Devizes are to undergo training to become Anglican priests.’
    clergyman, clergywoman, cleric, ecclesiastic, pastor, parson, churchman, churchwoman, man of the cloth, woman of the cloth, man of god, woman of god, father
    reverend, padre, holy joe, sky pilot
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who performs religious ceremonies and duties in a non-Christian religion:
      ‘the plays were performed within the sacred area of Dionysus, in the presence of his priest’
      • ‘The marriage ceremony is known as Chumulong and is performed by Buddhist priests.’
      • ‘At the top were the Brahmans, priests of the sacrificial religion and intellectuals.’
      • ‘Before noon of the same day, that forge was blessed by the monastic priests of nearby Kadavul Temple.’
      • ‘The Brahmanas are rituals and prayers to guide the priests in their duties.’
      • ‘The Shinto priest stood on the second step, the groom on the first.’
      • ‘Over 5,000 guests attended the Vedic ceremony where Brahmin priests chanted mantras.’
      • ‘For most indigenous religions, priests and priestesses are common.’
      • ‘Pandas are hereditary priests who assist pilgrims with the temple rituals and record the visit in their pilgrim register.’
      • ‘The decree requires that the priests and priestesses of Kolophon visit the altars in the old agora to acknowledge the ties between the old site and the current site of the city.’
      • ‘Hindu Yogis, Greek priests, and Christian martyrs all fasted.’
      • ‘By day, the priests and priestesses performed enactments for people who came to the temple.’
      • ‘Meet some of the Hindu priests and experience a fire ritual.’
      • ‘Spirit priests and Taoist masters are usually men who study religious texts to learn their specialty.’
      • ‘Similar new castes have been established as the need arose by gurus and priests throughout Hindu history.’
      • ‘All Witches are priests or priestesses and can command their own rituals, they need no blessing other than from the Gods.’
      • ‘A Shinto priest blesses the ring, and it is considered holy ground.’
      • ‘At temples, priests care for religious icons, which are believed to contain the essence of the deities they represent.’
      • ‘Most of the sons of the Hindu priests are not entering the priesthood, as they no longer find it remunerative.’
      • ‘Kahler also discovered that the gatekeeper was using the mausoleum as a place for Taoist priests to hold their religious rites.’
      • ‘The Shinto priest asked for reasons the couple should not be married and had them exchange vows and rings.’
  • 2A mallet used to kill fish caught when angling.

    • ‘Finished coracles are also delivered complete with a handcrafted priest or knocker used to humanely kill caught fish as a reminder that you are purchasing a historical fishing craft rather than a recreational toy.’
    • ‘Other items that you will always need include a priest for despatching any fish that you intend to keep to eat.’
    • ‘If taking a fish for the pot then it should be killed quickly and cleanly with a priest or knife then bagged out of sight.’


  • Ordain to the priesthood:

    ‘he was made deacon in 1990 and priested in 1994’
    • ‘She will be one of three women deacons in the diocese, but only until June 24 when the other two become priested.’
    • ‘Former Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, ordained Cate as a deacon at Romsey Abbey in 2001 and the curate was priested the following year.’
    • ‘I spoke about my vocation, which was originally about being a preacher of the Word, and how unexpected it was therefore, at the end of my deacon year, to find that being priested was such a special and moving event.’
    • ‘In practical terms it will mean that priests will spend their time priesting as distinct from the amalgam of very different duties they now perform.’
    • ‘As the church in Wales at that time did not allow women priests she had to wait until January 1997 to be priested in St Asaph's Cathedral.’


Old English prēost, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch priester, German Priester, based on ecclesiastical Latin presbyter elder (see presbyter).