[hahy-er-uh-fant, hahy-ruh-, hahy-er-uh-]


(in ancient Greece) an official expounder of rites of worship and sacrifice.
any interpreter of sacred mysteries or esoteric principles; mystagogue.

Origin of hierophant

1670–80; < Late Latin hierophanta < Greek hierophántēs, equivalent to hiero- hiero- + -phántēs, derivative of phaínein to show, make known
Related formshi·er·o·phan·tic, adjectivehi·er·o·phan·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hierophant

Historical Examples of hierophant

  • I'd no right to think anything at all about it, but I know some women take him for a hierophant.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • The hierophant of the sun-god made an effort to climb back on his pedestal.

  • In the sacraments of Nagualism, Woman was the primate and hierophant.


    Daniel G. Brinton

  • The hierophant has repented, and is now in black Galilean vestments again!

    The Death of the Gods

    Dmitri Mrejkowski

  • The hierophant unknotted the bandage over his eyes, 91 and lo!

    The Death of the Gods

    Dmitri Mrejkowski

British Dictionary definitions for hierophant



(in ancient Greece) an official high priest of religious mysteries, esp those of Eleusis
a person who interprets and explains esoteric mysteries
Derived Formshierophantic, adjectivehierophantically, adverb

Word Origin for hierophant

C17: from Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs, from hiero- + phainein to reveal
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 hierophant

"expounder of sacred mysteries," 1670s, from Late Latin hierophantes, from Greek hierophantes "one who teaches the rites of sacrifice and worship," literally "one who shows sacred things," from hieros "sacred" (see ire) + phainein "to reveal, bring to light" (see phantasm). In modern use, "expounder of esoteric doctrines," from 1822.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper