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[preest-kraft, -krahft] /ˈpristˌkræft, -ˌkrɑft/
the training, knowledge, and abilities necessary to a priest.
Origin of priestcraft
First recorded in 1475-85; priest + craft Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for priestcraft
Historical Examples
  • There were also Shamans of hunting, of medicine and priestcraft.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • The latter are based on conquest or priestcraft, and the former on reason.

  • "You are thinking of priestcraft, not philosophy, Cazotte," said Champfort.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • Its name is priestcraft and Intolerance under the name of “Religion.”

  • Not much ahead of ancient Egyptians in spirituality or in priestcraft!

  • He had resolved to strike a blow at priestcraft before he died.

  • It soon became the test of Teutonic patriotism to resist Italian priestcraft.

    The Holy Roman Empire James Bryce
  • The world has discarded kingcraft and priestcraft and come to mobcraft.

    Old Mole Gilbert Cannan
  • The surplice was the badge of priestcraft, and he thanked God he was not a priest.

    The Church Index William Pepperell
  • The people for the most part, believed this infamous tissue of priestcraft.

    The Ghosts Robert G. Ingersoll
British Dictionary definitions for priestcraft


the art and skills involved in the work of a priest
(derogatory) the influence of priests upon politics or the use by them of secular power
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 priestcraft

late 15c., "business of being a priest," from priest + craft (n.). After rise of Protestantism and the Enlightenment, it acquired a pejorative sense of "arts and devices of ambitious priests for attaining and holding temporal power and social control" (1680s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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