the act or practice of a person who preaches.
the art of delivering sermons.
a sermon.
a public religious service with a sermon.


of, relating to, or resembling preaching: a preaching tone of voice.

Origin of preaching

1225–75; Middle English preching (gerund); see preach, -ing1, -ing2
Related formspreach·ing·ly, adverbnon·preach·ing, adjective, nounun·preach·ing, adjective



verb (used with object)

to proclaim or make known by sermon (the gospel, good tidings, etc.).
to deliver (a sermon).
to advocate or inculcate (religious or moral truth, right conduct, etc.) in speech or writing.

verb (used without object)

to deliver a sermon.
to give earnest advice, as on religious or moral subjects or the like.
to do this in an obtrusive or tedious way.

Origin of preach

1175–1225; Middle English prechen < Old French pre(ë)chier < Late Latin praedicāre to preach (Latin: to assert publicly, proclaim). See predicate
Related formsout·preach, verb (used with object)un·preached, adjective

Synonyms for preach Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for preaching

teaching, sermon, homily, instruction, doctrine, exhortation

Examples from the Web for preaching

Contemporary Examples of preaching

Historical Examples of preaching

  • He could not avoid contrasting this behaviour with his past preaching.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Staples once that I did n't see but that the Doctor could beat him at preaching.

  • Yet the old carpenter's preaching is, methinks, more to your taste.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The wife at once said that he dared not leave off preaching as long as he could speak.


    James Anthony Froude

  • Bunyan's preaching enterprise became an extraordinary success.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for preaching



to make known (religious truth) or give religious or moral instruction or exhortation in (sermons)
to advocate (a virtue, action, etc), esp in a moralizing way
Derived Formspreachable, adjective

Word Origin for preach

C13: from Old French prechier, from Church Latin praedicāre, from Latin: to proclaim in public; see predicate
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 preaching



at first in late Old English predician, a loan word from Church Latin; reborrowed 12c. as preachen, from Old French preechier "to preach, give a sermon" (11c., Modern French précher), from Late Latin praedicare "to proclaim publicly, announce" (in Medieval Latin "to preach"), from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + dicare "to proclaim, to say" (see diction). Related: Preached; preaching. To preach to the converted is recorded from 1867 (form preach to the choir attested from 1979).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with preaching


In addition to the idiom beginning with preach

  • preach to the converted

also see:

  • practice what you preach
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.