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[prez-bi-ter-ee, pres-] /ˈprɛz bɪˌtɛr i, ˈprɛs-/
noun, plural presbyteries.
a body of presbyters or elders.
(in Presbyterian churches) an ecclesiastical court consisting of all the ministers and one or two presbyters from each congregation in a district.
the churches under the jurisdiction of a presbytery.
the part of a church appropriated to the clergy.
Roman Catholic Church. a rectory.
Origin of presbytery
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English presbetory, presbitory priests' bench, for Late Latin presbyterium group of elders < Greek presbytérion. See presbyter, -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for presbytery
Historical Examples
  • The presbytery, or the rectory, was the chief guest-house in the land.

    In the Footprints of the Padres Charles Warren Stoddard
  • He recommended the appointment of an English bishop and a Scots' presbytery.

  • The pavement of this presbytery is worthy of particular attention.

    Italy, the Magic Land Lilian Whiting
  • If St. Mary's Church were large and imposing, the presbytery was old and diminutive.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • In the draft, presbytery was described as the only government of Christs Church in this kingdom.

  • Such was the presbytery of Grey Town and its inmates in the days of which I am writing.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • To-morrow we trust to be in Aberdour; and then we leave for the presbytery of Ellon.

  • The presbytery would be there in a body, and he wanted the ministers to see Helen.

    Story of My Life Helen Keller
  • I've handed in my resignation,' says he, 'and the presbytery will shortly send me to another field of usefulness.'

    The Land of Long Ago Eliza Calvert Hall
  • He was then licensed by the presbytery, and has been preaching the gospel ever since that time.

    The Choctaw Freedmen Robert Elliott Flickinger
British Dictionary definitions for presbytery


/ˈprɛzbɪtərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (pl) -teries
(Presbyterian Church)
  1. a local Church court composed of ministers and elders
  2. the congregations or churches within the jurisdiction of any such court
the part of a cathedral or church east of the choir, in which the main altar is situated; sanctuary
presbyters or elders collectively
government of a church by presbyters or elders
(RC Church) the residence of a parish priest
Word Origin
C15: from Old French presbiterie, from Church Latin presbyterium, from Greek presbyterion; see presbyter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for presbytery

"part of a church reserved for the clergy," early 15c., from Church Latin presbyterium, from Greek presbyterion, from presbyteros "an elder" (see Presbyterian). Meaning "body of elders in the Presbyterian system" is recorded from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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