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[prez-bi-ter-ee, pres-]
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noun, plural pres·by·ter·ies.
  1. a body of presbyters or elders.
  2. (in Presbyterian churches) an ecclesiastical court consisting of all the ministers and one or two presbyters from each congregation in a district.
  3. the churches under the jurisdiction of a presbytery.
  4. the part of a church appropriated to the clergy.
  5. Roman Catholic Church. a rectory.
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Origin of presbytery

1375–1425; late Middle English presbetory, presbitory priests' bench, for Late Latin presbyterium group of elders < Greek presbytérion. See presbyter, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for presbytery

parsonage, benefice, vicarage, manse, presbytery

Examples from the Web for presbytery

Historical Examples of presbytery

  • The pavement of this presbytery is worthy of particular attention.

    Italy, the Magic Land

    Lilian Whiting

  • From springtime until autumn the presbytery was redolent of mignonette.


    Anatole France

  • He was buried close to the presbytery, and his wife was, in 1409, buried next to him.

  • Prelacy, he knew, was but the King's choice for the nation: Presbytery was the nation's choice for itself.

    Andrew Melville

    William Morison

  • He recommended the appointment of an English bishop and a Scots' presbytery.

British Dictionary definitions for presbytery


noun plural -teries
  1. Presbyterian Church
    1. a local Church court composed of ministers and elders
    2. the congregations or churches within the jurisdiction of any such court
  2. the part of a cathedral or church east of the choir, in which the main altar is situated; sanctuary
  3. presbyters or elders collectively
  4. government of a church by presbyters or elders
  5. RC Church the residence of a parish priest
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Word Origin for presbytery

C15: from Old French presbiterie, from Church Latin presbyterium, from Greek presbyterion; see presbyter
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 presbytery


"part of a church reserved for the clergy," early 15c., from Church Latin presbyterium, from Greek presbyterion, from presbyteros "an elder" (see Presbyterian). Meaning "body of elders in the Presbyterian system" is recorded from 1570s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper