Definition of defrock in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Deprive (a person in holy orders) of ecclesiastical status.

    • ‘Journalists rarely understand the full power of the press, but one authority we don't have is the power to defrock priests.’
    • ‘If this story is true the priest who offered up this warped advice should be defrocked.’
    • ‘If he is ordained, he should be defrocked for violating confidentiality.’
    • ‘Because it is a state church, however, the Lutheran Church cannot defrock him.’
    • ‘As expected their new policy does determine that priests who offend from here on out will be defrocked.’
    • ‘He was also allegedly defrocked as a Russian Orthodox priest in his home country.’
    • ‘The Modernist clergyman who had led the revolt, found himself defrocked and excommunicated.’
    • ‘Now defrocked, he was free from government monastic regulations and duties, and yet he had not freely chosen the lay life for himself.’
    • ‘The bishop had been speaking about gun control at an anti-gun rally only a few days before the court hearing, and recommended that he be defrocked.’
    • ‘Priests who are guilty of sexually assaulting minors should be defrocked and turned over to the law.’
    • ‘An Irish Protestant priest who faced being defrocked for publicly stating he did not believe in the divinity of Christ last night announced his resignation.’
    • ‘He has been suspended for six months while the matter is further investigated, and it appears almost a certainty that he will be defrocked.’
    • ‘He was tried for heresy by the Free Church of Scotland and defrocked.’
    • ‘He was sentenced to a fine, whipping, defrocking, life imprisonment and pillorying four times a year for the rest of his life.’
    • ‘Do they determine in some way or another that this priest can be reassigned and another priest should be defrocked?’
    • ‘The Dallas resolution made it much easier to defrock a priest for molesting a child.’
    • ‘Because of Buddhism's central importance in national life, the state has long been reluctant to act against errant monks until they have been defrocked by the Buddhist hierarchy.’
    • ‘Don Vitaliano - Nothing But a Priest is a documentary about an anti-capitalist priest who has subsequently been defrocked.’
    • ‘A bishops' committee has recommended the church defrock any priest who abuses children in the future, but says that if a priest only abused one child in the past, he might continue as a priest.’
    • ‘The cardinals said on Wednesday they would recommend a process to defrock any priest who has become ‘notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory sexual abuse of minors’.’
    1. 1.1usually as adjective defrocked Deprive (someone) of professional status or membership of a prestigious group.
      ‘a defrocked psychiatrist’
      • ‘Some welcome the defrocking of consultants as a sign of democratisation: the people will not stand for being pulled apart and pushed around by men in white coats.’
      • ‘If the gentlemen's code lauded self-sacrifice, its opposite selfishness - was behavior that, if egregious enough, could defrock a gentleman.’
      • ‘If you've accepted such behavior in the past and expect to continue this friendship in the future, it's wrong to insist on defrocking your friend.’
      • ‘This courageous stand put him at odds with the chief justice, who has since been defrocked for thumbing his nose at the federal courts.’
      • ‘In line with the law he was defrocked, and the commandments plaque was removed.’
      • ‘These defrocked workers are retraining for free in the city sponsored center, where they learn computer skills and facial massage.’


Early 17th century: from French défroquer, from dé- (expressing removal) + froc ‘frock’.