Definition of sermon in English:



  • 1A talk on a religious or moral subject, especially one given during a church service and based on a passage from the Bible.

    ‘I preached my first sermon on original sin’
    • ‘Instead, such preaching avoids real issues, uses outdated or irrelevant materials and doesn't feature God as the sermon's subject.’
    • ‘She was a normal woman, who enjoyed a good church sermon each Sunday morning and Wednesday night.’
    • ‘Pastors' wives were known to preach sermons and conduct services whenever the pastor was serving another church within his multiple-congregation assignment.’
    • ‘But the main feature of the service was the sermon, which generally lasted from three quarters of an hour to an hour.’
    • ‘I heard the Sunday sermons not once, but twice; likewise the prayers.’
    • ‘The Anglican leaders were preaching Christmas morning sermons to almost capacity congregations.’
    • ‘He came from a Protestant family and, in order to learn German, he attended the local Lutheran church where sermons were preached in that language.’
    • ‘This perspective has ramifications for the counseling ministry of the church, for sermons and Christian education and for the life of Christians in communities of faith.’
    • ‘Though still a young convert I could not square this teaching with 1 John, the epistle on which the morning sermons were based.’
    • ‘Don't start preaching your Easter sermon too soon!’
    • ‘She also gives a weekly sermon in the hospice chapel.’
    • ‘The other main users seem to be people preparing sermons or Bible studies and those who simply want to read for edification.’
    • ‘She sat in it, and listened to the middle-aged pastor's sermon.’
    • ‘Members particularly like being an intimate part of the children's sermon.’
    • ‘In Easter sermons, several Christian bishops made a point of criticising the detention of children.’
    • ‘And she said that her pastor's sermons had given her a sense of purpose.’
    • ‘If our Sunday sermons were like that, we might fill a few more pews.’
    • ‘Whether those attending religious services understand a sermon is evidently unimportant.’
    • ‘It would surely be progress if significant discourse on tolerance were incorporated into educational curricula, religious sermons, and public speech.’
    • ‘Has my prayer life improved because writing the weekly sermon has become easier?’
    homily, address, speech, talk, discourse, oration
    View synonyms
  • 2informal A long or tedious piece of admonition or reproof; a lecture.

    ‘he understood that if he said any more he would have to listen to another lengthy sermon’
    • ‘This unpretentious poetess does not go about lecturing or delivering sermons in high places.’
    • ‘It may teach people to critically decipher the sermons of the Times columnists who echo the advocates of occupation without an iota of skepticism.’
    • ‘Here's the crazed part: Despite such sober trends, the Times piece quickly turned into a sermon.’
    • ‘To be sure, Europeans have good reason to be as tired of American economic sermons as we were of Japanese lectures in the 1980s, when the consensus was that Japan had all the answers and we had better listen.’
    • ‘What's often missing in these tedious sermons is the fun of these ads, the ridiculous enthusiasm and vivacity, and an appreciation for the artistry evident in every ad.’
    • ‘Criticize the moronic politics and you get a sermon about not reducing works of art to a simplistic set of objective declarations.’
    lecture, tirade, harangue, diatribe
    View synonyms


Middle English (also in the sense ‘speech, discourse’): from Old French, from Latin sermo(n-) ‘discourse, talk’.