- 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: Middle English prest from Old English preost (? with -o- by associated, association with profost, provost) from Ecclesiastical Late Latin presbyter, an elder from Glassical Greek presbyteros, elder, comparative of presbys, old, old man (in LGr(Ec), an elder) from Indo-European an unverified form pres-, ahead from base an unverified form per- (see per, pre-) plush an unverified form gwou-, cow, ox (hence, origin, originally , lead-ox)
- priesthood noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- 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.
Origin: Middle English preost, from Old English prēost, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *prester (from Late Latin presbyter; see presbyter) or from West Germanic *prēvost (from Latin praepositus, superintendent; see provost).
priest - Cultural Definition
One who is designated an authority on religious matters. In some churches, especially the Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholic Church, the ordained church leader who serves a congregation of believers is called a priest. The priests in these churches administer the sacraments, preach, and care for the needs of their congregations. (See also minister and pastor.)