- The definition of a priest is someone who performs religious rituals and rites for a church or other religious organization.
An example of a priest is the person in charge of an Episcopal church.
- a person whose function is to make sacrificial offerings and perform other religious rites as an intermediary between deity and worshipers
- in the early Christian church, a presbyter, or elder
- in hierarchical Christian churches, a clergyman ranking next below a bishop and authorized to administer the sacraments
- any clergyman
Origin of priestMiddle English prest ; from Old English preost (? with -o- by associated, association with profost, provost) ; from Ecclesiastical Late Latin presbyter, an elder ; from Classical Greek presbyteros, elder, comparative of presbys, old, old man (in Ecclesiastical Late Greek an elder) ; from Indo-European an unverified form pres-, ahead ; from base an unverified form per- (see per, pre-) + an unverified form gwou-, cow, ox (hence, origin, originally , lead-ox)
- In many Christian churches, a member of the second grade of clergy ranking below a bishop but above a deacon and having authority to administer the sacraments.
- A person having the authority to perform and administer religious rites.
transitive verbpriest·ed, priest·ing, priests
Origin of priestMiddle English prest, from Old English prēost, from Late Latin presbyter; see presbyter.
- A religious clergyman who is trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple.
- The priest at the Catholic church heard his confession.
- The Shinto priest burnt incense for his ancestors.
- The Israelite priests were descended from Moses' brother Aaron.
- A blunt tool, used for quickly stunning and killing fish.
- (Mormonism) The highest office in the Aaronic priesthood.
(third-person singular simple present priests, present participle priesting, simple past and past participle priested)
- To ordain as a priest.
From Middle English preist, preest, from Old English prēost (“priest”), from Late Latin presbyter, from Ancient Greek πρεσβύτερος (presbuteros), from πρέσβυς (presbus, “elder, older”), originally "one who leads cattle," from Proto-Indo-European *pres (“before”), extended form of *pre, + *gʷōus (“cattle”). Reinforced in Middle English by Old French prestre, also from Latin presbyter.