Definition of Presbyterian in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most Reformed, Presbyterian churches have prayer meetings at 5: 00 a.m. every morning, seven days a week.’
    • ‘There are Presbyterians in bad Presbyterian churches, who have lost the message of the gospel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Presbyterian minister Matthew Peterson.’
    • ‘The Presbyterian Church is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, with around 2.5 million members.’
    • ‘A number of Presbyterian ministers grew increasingly sceptical of the enduring value of revival.’
    • ‘This fall I was in a large suburban Presbyterian church in Kansas City.’
    • ‘William Tennent, therefore, established a small school for Presbyterian ministers in a log cabin on the farm he owned in Bucks County.’
    • ‘It is, he believes, an accelerating decline, even in conservative Presbyterian denominations.’
    • ‘I have an uncle, for example, who is both theologically conservative and an elder in a mainline Presbyterian church.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is Reformed and is from a Presbyterian denomination.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘May 8, Jim Wallis will address the Institute for Christian Studies Seminar at National Presbyterian Church.’
    • ‘Many of the Korean ethnic churches started during the first fifty years of the twentieth century were affiliated with the Methodist and Presbyterian denominations.’


  • 1A member of a Presbyterian Church.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By comparison twenty-one years after the arrival of their first missionary, Presbyterians had 32 churches and 1,729 members.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A few of these Protestants affiliated with Reformed churches but most became Presbyterians.’
    • ‘In other words, Baptists and Southern Presbyterians are evangelicals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were also the English, Scottish and Irish and among them many Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholic worshippers.’
    • ‘Similarly, as elsewhere, those at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement were overwhelmingly Methodists, Presbyterians and other Protestants, and Quakers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Free Church Presbyterians were certainly high on Douglass' list of desirable converts to the antislavery cause.’
    • ‘This was also true for the Protestant denominations, including the Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Unitarians, Baptists, and Quakers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And this discomfort isn't limited to Presbyterians and Methodists and Anglicans.’
    • ‘The patterns of religious hegemony that formed Presbyterians and Methodists, Lutherans and Baptists, Catholics and Congregationalists have all dissipated since World War II.’
    • ‘James was also a devout Presbyterian who saw his management system as an expression of his obligation to other human beings.’
    • ‘In the last two years of his life, he became a Presbyterian, pastoring a church in Westchester, Pennsylvania.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Presbyterians began ordaining females elders in 1930 and female clergy in 1956.’
    1. 1.1 An advocate of the Presbyterian system.
      • ‘For the sake of context, let me tell you two things that Presbyterians believe about church government.’
      • ‘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.’


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