[ pen-ti-kawst, -kost ]
/ ˈpɛn tɪˌkɔst, -ˌkɒst /
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a Christian festival celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles; Whitsunday.
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Origin of Pentecost

before 1000; Middle English pentecoste,Old English pentecosten<Late Latin pentēcostē<Greek pentēkostḗ (hēmérā) fiftieth (day)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use Pentecost in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Pentecost

/ (ˈpɛntɪˌkɒst) /

a Christian festival occurring on Whit Sunday commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles
Also called: Feast of Weeks, Shavuot Judaism the harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the second day of Passover on the sixth and seventh days of Sivan, and commemorating the giving the Torah on Mount Sinai

Word Origin for Pentecost

Old English, from Church Latin pentēcostē, from Greek pentēkostē fiftieth
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

Cultural definitions for Pentecost


In the New Testament, the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples of Jesus. Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot, the spring harvest festival of the Israelites, which was going on when the Holy Spirit came. The disciples were together in Jerusalem (see also Jerusalem) after Jesus' Resurrection and return to heaven, fearful because he had left them. On that morning, however, “there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Because of the festival, crowds of visitors were in Jerusalem, speaking many languages, but the disciples of Jesus moved among them and spoke to them all, and “every man heard them speak in his own language” about “the wonderful works of God.” Peter then made a powerful speech to the crowds in the city, and many were baptized as new followers of Jesus.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.