[pos-chuh-luh nt]


a candidate, especially for admission into a religious order.
a person who asks or applies for something.

Origin of postulant

1750–60; < French < Latin postulant- (stem of postulāns), present participle of postulāre to ask for, claim, require
Related formspos·tu·lant·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for postulant

Historical Examples of postulant

  • She trembled like a postulant when she wrote the Greek alphabet for the first time.

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

  • There are degrees in the struggle for saintliness; the journalist was but a postulant.

  • "But Juanita is not a postulant," said Sarrion, with a laugh.

    The Velvet Glove

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Mark concerned himself less with his own reception as a postulant.

    The Altar Steps

    Compton MacKenzie

  • One is a postulant for two years at least, often for four; a novice for four.

    Les Misrables

    Victor Hugo

British Dictionary definitions for postulant



a person who makes a request or application, esp a candidate for admission to a religious order
Derived Formspostulancy or postulantship, noun

Word Origin for postulant

C18: from Latin postulāns asking, from postulāre to ask, demand
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 postulant

1759, from French postulant "applicant, candidate," literally "one who asks," from Latin postulantem (nominative postulans), present participle of postulare "to ask, demand" (see postulate (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper