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[preest-lee] /ˈprist li/
adjective, priestlier, priestliest.
of or relating to a priest; sacerdotal:
priestly vestments.
characteristic of or befitting a priest.
Origin of priestly
before 1000; Middle English prestli, Old English prēostlic. See priest, -ly
Related forms
priestliness, noun
nonpriestly, adjective
pseudopriestly, adjective
unpriestly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for priestly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In all editions prior to 1852, 'Priestley' is spelled 'priestly'.

  • This is the feeling of the priests, and the people are under the priestly thumb.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • The father of Teresa Sandoval was the priestly son of a marquise of Spain!

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • O'Brien shook off the priestly hand, and fixed his eyes upon Seraphina.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • In some parts the religion is personal and immediate; in others it is priestly.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies
British Dictionary definitions for priestly


adjective -lier, -liest
of, relating to, characteristic of, or befitting a priest
Derived Forms
priestliness, noun
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 priestly

mid-15c.; see priest + -ly (1). Old English had preostlic, but the modern word seems to be a Middle English re-formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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