Definition of Presbyterian in US English:



  • Relating to or denoting a Christian Church or denomination governed by elders according to the principles of Presbyterianism.

    • ‘There are Presbyterians in bad Presbyterian churches, who have lost the message of the gospel.’
    • ‘The Presbyterian Church is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, with around 2.5 million members.’
    • ‘It is, he believes, an accelerating decline, even in conservative Presbyterian denominations.’
    • ‘He is Reformed and is from a Presbyterian denomination.’
    • ‘That continued when we moved to Minnesota, and I started as a lay volunteer with the church staff and elders at Christ Presbyterian, a very large Presbyterian church.’
    • ‘May 8, Jim Wallis will address the Institute for Christian Studies Seminar at National Presbyterian Church.’
    • ‘Most Reformed, Presbyterian churches have prayer meetings at 5: 00 a.m. every morning, seven days a week.’
    • ‘In accordance with its Presbyterian constitution, the Church admitted lay elders both to the periodic gatherings of the General Assembly, and to the Church Commission, an executive body set up to look after clerical interests.’
    • ‘This fall I was in a large suburban Presbyterian church in Kansas City.’
    • ‘The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Presbyterian minister Matthew Peterson.’
    • ‘Many of the Korean ethnic churches started during the first fifty years of the twentieth century were affiliated with the Methodist and Presbyterian denominations.’
    • ‘In 1989 I was in Ireland doing a film, and in my spare time was a youth minister at the local Presbyterian church.’
    • ‘How does this history affect the way that the gospel message is shared by Presbyterian churches today?’
    • ‘William Tennent, therefore, established a small school for Presbyterian ministers in a log cabin on the farm he owned in Bucks County.’
    • ‘Christian missionaries had worked among them since 1735, and by the time the tribe moved to Oklahoma, many Creeks belonged to Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian churches.’
    • ‘By contrast, the prayers uttered in other Christian groups, especially the Churches of Christ and Presbyterian denominations, tend to reinforce what has been taught from the Bible.’
    • ‘Thirdly, his idea of Presbyterian church government avoided the hierarchical idea.’
    • ‘When they grow up and move to another town, they don't end up in Presbyterian churches but in Baptist or Charismatic ones, which feel familiar to them.’
    • ‘A number of Presbyterian ministers grew increasingly sceptical of the enduring value of revival.’
    • ‘I have an uncle, for example, who is both theologically conservative and an elder in a mainline Presbyterian church.’


  • 1A member of a Presbyterian Church.

    • ‘The patterns of religious hegemony that formed Presbyterians and Methodists, Lutherans and Baptists, Catholics and Congregationalists have all dissipated since World War II.’
    • ‘In the last two years of his life, he became a Presbyterian, pastoring a church in Westchester, Pennsylvania.’
    • ‘Toward that end he is planning trips to Korea and New Zealand this year to raise the seminary's profile among the Korean Presbyterians and Reformed Churches of New Zealand.’
    • ‘There were also the English, Scottish and Irish and among them many Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholic worshippers.’
    • ‘He was a short man with a commanding, booming voice (the nearby Presbyterians heard two sermons each Sunday - that of their pastor as well as Jackson's) and an evangelistic style of delivery.’
    • ‘Walker said the majority of Irish Masons were Presbyterians, though that church, which has 300,000 members in more than 560 congregations, officially disapproves of the Freemasons.’
    • ‘This was also true for the Protestant denominations, including the Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Unitarians, Baptists, and Quakers.’
    • ‘A few of these Protestants affiliated with Reformed churches but most became Presbyterians.’
    • ‘And this discomfort isn't limited to Presbyterians and Methodists and Anglicans.’
    • ‘James was also a devout Presbyterian who saw his management system as an expression of his obligation to other human beings.’
    • ‘This united body was still far behind other major Protestant groups such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and Episcopals.’
    • ‘There are Presbyterians in bad Presbyterian churches, who have lost the message of the gospel.’
    • ‘Similarly, as elsewhere, those at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement were overwhelmingly Methodists, Presbyterians and other Protestants, and Quakers.’
    • ‘By comparison twenty-one years after the arrival of their first missionary, Presbyterians had 32 churches and 1,729 members.’
    • ‘Free Church Presbyterians were certainly high on Douglass' list of desirable converts to the antislavery cause.’
    • ‘In other words, Baptists and Southern Presbyterians are evangelicals.’
    • ‘Elements from each church would form the structure of the new institution, with the traditions of bishops taken from the Episcopal Church, elders from the Presbyterians and United Reformed Church, and lay preachers from the Methodists.’
    • ‘The Presbyterians began ordaining females elders in 1930 and female clergy in 1956.’
    • ‘The Reformed churches, including the Presbyterians, look back to a golden era in places like Geneva and in Holland where the church was able to take over the government and mandate Christian behavior for everyone.’
    1. 1.1 An advocate of the Presbyterian system.
      • ‘For example, we owe the Presbyterians thanks for the system of representation adopted at the Constitutional Convention, as well as the concept of a dedicated public statesman.’
      • ‘Their views and ecclesiastical organization were similar to those of Presbyterians, with whom they easily merged.’
      • ‘For the sake of context, let me tell you two things that Presbyterians believe about church government.’


Mid 17th century: from ecclesiastical Latin presbyterium (see presbytery) + -an.