Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[sek-stuh n] /ˈsɛk stən/
an official of a church charged with taking care of the edifice and its contents, ringing the bell, etc., and sometimes with burying the dead.
an official who maintains a synagogue and its religious articles, chants the designated portion of the Torah on prescribed days, and assists the cantor in conducting services on festivals.
Origin of sexton
1275-1325; Middle English sexteyn, sekesteyn, syncopated variant of segerstane, secristeyn < Anglo-French segerstaine sacristan
Related forms
sextonship, noun
undersexton, noun
Can be confused
sextant, sextet, sexton.


[sek-stuh n] /ˈsɛk stən/
Anne (Harvey) 1928–74, U.S. poet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sexton
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Scarcely was it safe, when the sexton buried the old man and his secret with him.

    Other Tales and Sketches Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The sexton started up, in a state of the most amazed consternation.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Is he in need of the small salary your church must give its sexton?

  • The sexton and his man had lowered the coffin to its last home, and then stepped aside.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • One of the three was the sexton of the church, another was the curate, the third was a policeman.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • The sexton and the policeman carried the coffin to the church-door, which the curate opened.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • He beckoned the sexton and the sexton's daughter to draw near and stand as witnesses.

    Victor's Triumph Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
  • "Yes, Hester, and I have brought company with me," said the sexton.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
  • "And you opened your eyes and saw me," said the sexton, finishing out his narrative.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
British Dictionary definitions for sexton


a person employed to act as caretaker of a church and its contents and graveyard, and often also as bell-ringer, gravedigger, etc
another name for the burying beetle
Word Origin
C14: from Old French secrestein, from Medieval Latin sacristānussacristan
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sexton

c.1300, sekesteyn, "person in charge of the sacred objects of a church," from Old French segrestien, from Medieval Latin sacristanus (see sacristan). Sense of "custodian of a church" first recorded 1580s. Fem. forms sextress, sextrice are recorded 15c., but the usual form is sextoness (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for sexton

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for sexton

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for sexton