Definition of sacerdotal in US English:



  • 1Relating to priests or the priesthood; priestly.

    • ‘By sacrament I mean, in addition to the material aspects of sacramental ritual, all outward, public, sacerdotal and ecclesiastically oriented forms of religious expression.’
    • ‘His first work, Christianity not Mysterious, opposes sacerdotal authority and fideism.’
    • ‘Buildings like the Pantheon or Hagia Sophia were devices that introduced light to grand interiors in ways that reinforced their sacerdotal purposes.’
    • ‘Psychologists call it transcendence, which has a suitably sacerdotal ring; and comprises traits of self-forgetfulness, connectedness to the natural world and mysticism.’
    • ‘The resulting properly pious disposition serves the earthly church by providing it with members who do not challenge sacerdotal authority.’
    • ‘Whoever is actually conducting the services, ordained minister or visiting lay preacher, the pattern is irretrievably sacerdotal, the congregation neither speaking by itself nor performing an action from start to finish.’
    • ‘We of sacerdotal cloth are here to guide, not rule.’
    • ‘But these sacerdotal voices state orders; they do not discourse the way Sarastro does.’
    • ‘Ahe covered herself with her hands and scurried to the altar and pulled the sacerdotal cloth from the stone offering table.’
    • ‘The New Testament writers freely mixed and blended legal and sacerdotal metaphors because they understood that neither kind of metaphor completely captures the full mystery of salvation.’
    • ‘The sacerdotal role of the Christian laity, whose spiritual sacrifice and virtuous life makes a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, is placed in complete opposition to the formal procedures of the Roman clergy.’
    • ‘The Holy See forbade clerics to join the new organization, and it implored prelates to observe vigilantly all sacerdotal activities in order to secure the subservience of priests and to rout out rebels and rogues.’
    • ‘If anything, there was the feeling that there was something almost sacerdotal going on in the upper strata of the literary, and this could only be to the good.’
    • ‘The man is in fact respected in the family precisely because of the sacerdotal function that he fulfils.’
    priestly, clerical, ecclesiastical, ministerial
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Theology Relating to or denoting a doctrine which ascribes sacrificial functions and spiritual or supernatural powers to ordained priests.
      • ‘Islam does not recognize a sacerdotal priesthood.’
      • ‘Here the text refers to the ‘specific sacerdotal ministry of the clergy’ to which only men were ordained.’
      • ‘Although the lay possess no sacerdotal power and rely upon the priest as mediator between them and God, they do assist the priest in offering up the Mass through their collected prayers for the Eucharistic sacrifice.’
      • ‘Christian sacerdotal priesthood participates in the priesthood of Christ and administers sacraments which can actually take away sin, which levitical priests could not.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin sacerdotalis, from sacerdos, sacerdot- ‘priest’.