[ hoh-lee-nis ]
/ ˈhoʊ li nɪs /
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the quality or state of being holy; sanctity.
(initial capital letter) a title of the pope, formerly used also of other high ecclesiastics (usually preceded by His or Your).
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Origin of holiness

before 900; Middle English holynesse,Old English hālignes.See holy, -ness


self-ho·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does holiness mean?

Holiness is a state of religious purity or devotion, as in Our faith says that holiness comes from serving other people and praying often.

Holiness is also used as a title for some religions’ leaders. If you ever meet the Catholic Church’s Pope or Tibetan Buddhism’s Dalia Lama, you can refer to them as your Holiness.

Example: The holiness of this relic is a hotly debated subject in religious circles.

Where does holiness come from?

The first records of the term holiness come from before 900. It comes from the Old English hālignes. It combines the word holy, which means “recognized or declared sacred,” and the suffix ness, which creates abstract nouns defining the quality of something.

While many religions have a form of holiness, it is understood differently depending on the context. Some religions assign holiness to specific objects, making them relics or sacred items. Sometimes people can have holiness, such as religious leaders or people who follow the laws of their specific faith. Holiness is seen as a goal for many major religions.

Informally, holiness can be used to describe an object that is very important to someone.

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What are some other forms related to holiness?

  • self-holiness (noun)

What are some synonyms for holiness?

What are some words that share a root or word element with holiness

What are some words that often get used in discussing holiness?

How is holiness used in real life?

When capitalized, Holiness is usually used as a title for a religious leader. In other uses, it refers to a devotion to and a purity of faith.

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Is holiness used correctly in the following sentence?

Priya’s holiness was reflected in how she cared for the needy in her community.

How to use holiness in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for holiness (1 of 2)

/ (ˈhəʊlɪnɪs) /

the state or quality of being holy

British Dictionary definitions for holiness (2 of 2)

/ (ˈhəʊlɪnɪs) /

(preceded by his or your) a title once given to all bishops, but now reserved for the pope
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