Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sermon, especially one intended to edify a congregation on a practical matter and not intended to be a theological discourse.
  • n. A tedious moralizing lecture or admonition.
  • n. An inspirational saying or platitude.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sermon, especially concerning a practical matter.
  • n. A moralizing lecture.
  • n. A platitude.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A discourse or sermon read or pronounced to an audience; a serious discourse.
  • n. A serious or tedious exhortation in private on some moral point, or on the conduct of life.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In early Christian use, a colloquial and familiar discourse in exposition of Scripture; in modern use, an expository sermon, or one which interprets and applies a particular passage of Scripture rather than elucidates a particular doctrine or theme.
  • n. Any expository or hortatory discourse.
  • n. [capitalized] In the Ch. of Eng., one of the two series of discourses called “The First” and “The Second Book of Homilies,” the former of which appeared in 1547 and the latter in 1563, appointed to be read in the churches when the sermon was omitted. Synonyms Exhortation, etc. See sermon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sermon on a moral or religious topic

Etymologies

Middle English omelie, from Old French, from Late Latin homīlia, from Greek homīliā, discourse, from homīlos, crowd; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ὁμιλία ("conversation; sermon"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The entire homily is incredible, I would say among the greatest of his pontificate, I will post an English translation once it becomes available (see post above):

    Papal Vespers for the Conclusion of the Pauline Year

  • His homily is about "bad people," and his text is an article in Chicago Magazine by a well-meaning journalist who was roughed up by one or more teenagers last year.

    Archive 2009-09-01

  • The pope read his homily from a text while seated on an altar in center field.

    Pope meets with sex abuse victims

  • You can tell because the first word of his home-page homily is “suffering”.

    God hates me « Sven’s guide to…

  • Ratzinger's homily is now known as the "dictatorship of relativism" speech, and with good reason.

    The Year of two Popes

  • ALLEN: Sure, I mean this is a normal Catholic mass, which means we'll have readings from scripture, the Pope will then give a talk, which Catholics refer to as the homily, which is in the first place a reflection on the scripture readings but obviously, this is the Pope's one chance to speak to the people who make the church live at the grassroots.

    CNN Transcript Apr 19, 2008

  • "I frankly think the big thing in this homily is that he's turned 179 degrees," said the Rev. Francis Buckley, a Jesuit who recently retired as professor of theology at the University of San Francisco.

    USATODAY.com - New pontiff stresses unity, youth, dialogue

  • Thus, without leaving the comfort of one's living room, one may receive the homily from the nearest house of worship.

    Noise

  • The word homily is derived from the Greek word homilia (from homilein), which means to have communion or hold intercourse with a person.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7: Gregory XII-Infallability

  • After the reading there is a sermon, or homily, which is almost never given by Father Kennedy.

    Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog:

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Comments

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  • Just an inksplash away from hornily.

    March 10, 2010

  • Sounds like ad homilem reasoning to me.

    June 7, 2009

  • Whether or not it is by definition, I always think of it that way.

    June 7, 2009

  • Hmmmm, I'd say so. Which probably means a bout of comeuppance regarding the real meaning is on its way :-)

    June 7, 2009

  • Is a homily generally perceived as shorter than a sermon?

    I once heard a very short sermon/homily by the Most. Rev. Frank Griswold described (humorously, not as if it were a "real" word) as a "homilini" :)

    June 7, 2009

  • See: homilist

    January 30, 2009