Definition of homily in English:



  • 1A religious discourse that is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction; a sermon.

    • ‘If only our homilies interested people as much as the subject of preaching, then we would be doing well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Few Catholics today report that they have ever heard a homily supporting the Church's teaching on any sexual matter, let alone contraception.’
    • ‘The conclave opens with a Mass of the Holy Spirit, including a key homily stressing the particular challenges facing the next pope.’
    • ‘Fr. Michael McManus delivered a lovely homily, reflecting on various aspects of Michael's life and his contribution to the life of the parish.’
    • ‘In fact, if you read Hebrews aloud, you will quickly recognize how much it resembles an oral proclamation or a stirring homily.’
    • ‘For preachers eager to hone their skills in designing a sermon, ‘Speaking Parables’ provides 14 homilies, each followed by several pages of retrospective analysis.’
    • ‘These specified readings and the sermon or homily that follows are meant to nourish the congregation at prayer in the rite that includes them.’
    • ‘His confidence in theology as spiritually relevant is most apparent in his published prayers and homilies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The chief celebrant at the Mass was Fr. Fergal Cunnane and he also delivered a fine homily.’
    • ‘At the conclusion of his installation homily, Benedict spoke eloquently of friendship in Christ, and how it opens the doors to mutual trust.’
    • ‘In his homily at Malcom's funeral, Nebraska Bishop James Krotz told of visiting a nursing home in Nebraska City with Malcom.’
    • ‘The spammed messages were sometimes accompanied by a religious homily or endorsement.’
    • ‘Such a situation will not be reversed by one hour on Sunday attending Mass and listening to a ten-minute 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    sermon, lecture, discourse, address, lesson, talk, speech, oration, declamation
    preaching, teaching
    peroration, allocution, postil
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A tedious moralizing discourse.
      ‘she delivered her homily about the need for patience’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I confess, all political affiliations aside, the President's slow, studied attempts at sincerity and moralistic homilies make my teeth ache.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Having delivered myself of that Friday afternoon piece of advice and homily, can we turn then to the preposed orders and directions.’
      • ‘He went on a chat show and delivered another one of his standard homilies on how homosexuals are killing the theater.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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