Definitions

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

  • n. 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.
  • n. A person having the authority to perform and administer religious rites.
  • transitive v. To ordain or admit to the priesthood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A religious clergyman who is trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple.
  • n. A blunt tool, used for quickly stunning and killing fish.
  • n. The highest office in the Aaronic priesthood.
  • v. To ordain as a priest.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A presbyter elder; a minister.
  • n. One who is authorized to consecrate the host and to say Mass; but especially, one of the lowest order possessing this power.
  • n. A presbyter; one who belongs to the intermediate order between bishop and deacon. He is authorized to perform all ministerial services except those of ordination and confirmation.
  • n. One who officiates at the altar, or performs the rites of sacrifice; one who acts as a mediator between men and the divinity or the gods in any form of religion.
  • transitive v. To ordain as priest.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To ordain to the priesthood; make a priest of.
  • To hold the office or exercise the functions of a priest.
  • n. One who is duly authorized to be a minister of sacred things; one whose stated duty it is to perform, on behalf of the community, certain public religious acts, particularly religious sacrifices.
  • n. One who is ordained to the pastoral or sacerdotal office; a presbyter; an elder.
  • n. Specifically, in hierarchical churches, the second in rank in the clerical orders, between bishop and deacon.
  • n. A breed of domestic pigeons, in four different color-varieties, black, blue, red, and yellow.
  • n. A mark composed of two concentric circles, used as a private stamp, a brand for cattle, and the like in England.
  • n. In the early Christian church, a bishop.
  • n. A member of an order in the Mormon Church ranking among the higher orders. See Mormon.
  • n. See the adjectives.

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

  • n. a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders
  • n. a person who performs religious duties and ceremonies in a non-Christian religion

Etymologies

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).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English preist, preest, from Old English prēost, from Late Latin presbyter, from Ancient Greek πρεσβύτερος (presbuteros), from πρέσβυς (presbus, "elder, older"). Reinforced in Middle English by Old French prestre, also from Latin presbyter. (Wiktionary)

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