• synonyms


  1. a member of the clergy or other person in religious orders.
  2. a member of the ecclesia in ancient Athens.
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  1. ecclesiastical.
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Origin of ecclesiastic

1475–85; < Late Latin ecclēsiasticus < Greek ekklēsiastikós. See Ecclesiastes, -ic
Related formsan·ti·ec·cle·si·as·tic, noun, adjectivenon·ec·cle·si·as·tic, adjective, nounun·ec·cle·si·as·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ecclesiastics

Historical Examples

  • Crossan, a stern judge of ecclesiastics, has the highest opinion of him.

    The Red Hand of Ulster

    George A. Birmingham

  • A sharp blow was dealt also at the recovered privileges of ecclesiastics.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor

    W. Llewelyn Williams.

  • Bands are worn by the ecclesiastics in France and Italy, as well as in England.

  • What a marvelous opiate the ecclesiastics have been injecting into the minds of the masses!

  • I execrate the enslavement of the mind of our young children by the ecclesiastics.

British Dictionary definitions for ecclesiastics


  1. a clergyman or other person in holy orders
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  1. of or associated with the Christian Church or clergy
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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

Word Origin and History for ecclesiastics



late 15c., from Middle French ecclésiastique and directly from Late Latin ecclesiasticus, from Greek ekklesiastikos "of the (ancient Athenian) assembly," later, "of the church," from ekklesiastes "speaker in an assembly or church, preacher," from ekkalein "to call out," from ek "out" (see ex-) + kalein "to call" (see claim (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper