Definition of preach in English:



  • 1 Deliver a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people, typically in church.

    ‘he preached to a large congregation’
    [with object] ‘our pastor will preach the sermon’
    • ‘Pastors preach against such beliefs and expectations in village churches on a weekly basis.’
    • ‘Stories have been repeatedly told about ranting, raving Baptist preachers who only preach sermons on hell and damnation.’
    • ‘Don't just sit here and preach from the pulpit.’
    • ‘Results of missions could not be measured by the numbers of sermons preached or members added to church rosters, but by the way missionaries lived and mirrored Jesus Christ in their daily lives.’
    • ‘He later became Bishop of Hippo where he preached powerfully for 35 years.’
    • ‘On the eve of the American Revolution about 1,800 Christian ministers preached from their pulpits.’
    • ‘His sermons, when he preaches, are modest and open.’
    • ‘Rumors reach Jerusalem that Paul was preaching to the Gentiles in the far-flung corners of the Roman Empire.’
    • ‘But let's say that the book is a collection of sermons preached at that church.’
    • ‘They started preaching in mosques and on market squares.’
    • ‘They gave little encouragement to country dancing, often preaching strong sermons against it off the altar.’
    • ‘Paul, an early convert to Christianity, preached mainly to Gentiles outside Palestine.’
    • ‘He was also a lay reader in the Church of England and preached regularly.’
    • ‘And one of the early sermons I preached, I alluded to this light and how our faith is about light and the life and the love of God within the community.’
    • ‘During the morning Harvest Festival service, I found myself thinking that my sermon had an uncomfortable similarity to the previous year's Harvest sermon I had preached in that church.’
    • ‘In a sermon that I preached to my home congregation, I noted this.’
    • ‘He is said to have delivered 18,000 sermons, preaching 40-60 hours a week.’
    • ‘The newly re-born legend soon featured as the centrepiece of a series of patriotic sermons preached in parish churches across England.’
    • ‘Our pastor preaches a sermon each week that is nearly always inspirational, relevant, comforting, educational and challenging.’
    • ‘Would you like me to preach in your church on the sanctity of human life?’
    religious teaching, instruction, message
    sermons, sermonizing, homilies, evangelism, homiletics
    pulpitry, kerygma
    give a sermon, deliver a sermon, sermonize, spread the gospel, evangelize, address, speak
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Publicly proclaim or teach (a religious message or belief)
      ‘a church that preaches the good news’
      • ‘India has preached this message of love for over fifty centuries.’
      • ‘In 1748 he gave protection to John Wesley after he tried to preach his message standing on the packhorse bridge.’
      • ‘They adopted local idiom and preached the message of love and universal brotherhood.’
      • ‘It was a parable that preached the message of humility and was met by sustained applause.’
      • ‘There are many today who do not preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘Because of this ministry, ministers across the nation can preach the Christian message to a culture that has been taught that the Bible cannot be trusted.’
      • ‘The message must be preached within the larger context of the biblical framework of God's holiness.’
      • ‘He preached a universal message, love of God and love of brother, which was beyond any sectarianism or selfishness.’
      • ‘Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind, social justice and denounces superstitions and blind rituals.’
      • ‘Most religious nutballs that appear to be hate-mongers claim they are preaching a message of love.’
      • ‘You preach some messages that are pretty uncomfortable for people to hear-messages people have heard often, but not necessarily taken to heart.’
      • ‘If someone from among them was raised to heaven, it cannot stop the following prophets from preaching these beliefs.’
      • ‘I heard ministers preaching Christ but what right had I to believe in Him?’
      • ‘John, a contemporary of Jesus who also preached a message of redemption, is one of the most important figures in Christianity.’
      • ‘Every religion preaches that the essence of all morality is to do good to others.’
      • ‘So Peter was the first to preach a message unto Gentile believers.’
      • ‘The church needs to recover the Jesus who lived before Christians imposed an alien creed on his life and teachings, the Jesus who preached a message of love of the God who created not just one group but all human beings.’
      • ‘Yet the former evangelical minister often preaches love and understanding during his political rallies.’
      proclaim, teach, spread, propagate, expound, explain, make known
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    2. 1.2[with object]Earnestly advocate (a belief or course of action)
      ‘my parents have always preached toleration and moderation’
      • ‘Seek out television, radio, and print opportunities to preach the message of nondiscrimination.’
      • ‘Everyone from the top down had preached the same message: ‘change your behaviour… change your behaviour’.’
      • ‘Very few people can actually bear to be nihilists; very few people can preach a message of paralysis and despair for long.’
      • ‘Then they swung 180-degrees to oppose it, aligning themselves with other environmental groups preaching the same message.’
      • ‘He has preached the same message from Day One - he wants them to be the toughest, meanest group in the NFL.’
      • ‘Now he was free to preach his message to larger groups of people.’
      • ‘Her children are her lifeline, and she constantly preaches togetherness to them.’
      • ‘Let's unite and preach that message loud and clear and consistently.’
      • ‘Then came major corporations that tried to erect a central stage to make the Internet a platform to preach their own messages.’
      • ‘I'm somebody who often, like so many people, preaches what he needs to learn.’
      • ‘It preaches a message of racism, intolerance and brutality that flies in the face of this country's history and heritage.’
      • ‘We run a business, not a re-education camp, so we don't preach the co-operative gospel to people.’
      • ‘They also preach tolerance of others with different beliefs.’
      • ‘As much as they preached the message of prevention they failed to have women change their attitude.’
      • ‘I've been around for years, preaching the same message.’
      • ‘‘The accused preaches a message of hate and violence,’ he said.’
      • ‘For as long as I've known you, you've always preached the virtue of consistency.’
      • ‘In common with religion, German Romanticism used allegory to preach its message.’
      • ‘It preaches a powerful message about losing one's identity when blindly following the leadership of an unknown, unhinged superior.’
      • ‘I appeal to communities in the Eastern Cape to form safety community networks and preach a message of dignity and respect for women.’
      advocate, recommend, advise, urge, exhort, teach, counsel, champion, inculcate, instil
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    3. 1.3Give moral advice to someone in an annoying or pompously self-righteous way.
      ‘viewers want to be entertained, not preached at’
      • ‘So, all in all, I think he had a great opportunity, but didn't do more than just preach the message.’
      • ‘Many of the kids will eventually rebel against all the stuff preached at them, however.’
      • ‘They constantly preach about the moral failings of the rest of us - yet they keep getting caught with their own pants down, morally speaking.’
      • ‘He appeared not to care, and worse, preached self-righteousness without knowing why.’
      • ‘They do think they are so right and preach constantly.’
      • ‘And achieving that without resorting to preaching about moral values isn't easy.’
      • ‘How did I end up constantly feeling angry, cheated, and misled for paying good money to be preached at?’
      • ‘Fellows do not learn values from having them preached at them, but from seeing values enacted in the routine of daily life.’
      • ‘They prefer to be shown a truth rather than told, just as adults do, to discover a moral lesson on their own rather than having it preached at them.’
      • ‘I have never ever preached at them, but I have given them my opinion where they have asked for it.’
      • ‘I preached at myself to avoid preaching to my reader.’
      • ‘It neither preached at me, nor thought for me, but asked me to make up my own mind.’
      • ‘Working class kids are the most policed, preached at and controlled group in society.’
      • ‘I'm not looking to be preached at, hectored or lectured in any way.’
      • ‘He viewed him then as ‘the stereotype of a head waiter’ who preached at them ‘like a division chaplain in the army’.’
      moralize, be moralistic, sermonize, pontificate, lecture, harangue
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  • preach to the choir (or the converted)

    • Advocate something to people who already share one's convictions about its merits or importance.

      • ‘Spoken word records covering social and political issues can be a bit of a dicey situation since they usually don't hold up past the first listen and they hardly sell because they're already preaching to the converted.’
      • ‘If you like this kind of stuff, then I'm already preaching to the converted.’
      • ‘I know that I'm probably preaching to the converted, but, even if you're don't listen to it, a community-based radio station is an essential part of Canberra's culture.’
      • ‘If you already have parts 1-4 of this series, then I am already preaching to the converted.’
      • ‘You're preaching to the converted over here, my friend.’
      • ‘I guess we're sort of preaching to the converted already.’
      • ‘The problem is more than just preaching to the converted.’
      • ‘Thursday's summit attracted an audience of around 100 young farmers and industry insiders and it was a case of preaching to the converted for many delegates.’
      • ‘Tell any mother who is either working or wants to get back into paid work after having a child that it is difficult finding affordable childcare, and you are already preaching to the converted.’
      • ‘I believe this is what is known as " preaching to the choir"?’
      • ‘We were preaching to the choir, but it was good, catty fun.’
      • ‘Is this success because he's been preaching to the converted?’


Middle English: from Old French prechier, from Latin praedicare proclaim in ecclesiastical Latin preach from prae before + dicare declare.