[ preest-kraft, -krahft ]
/ ˈpristˌkræft, -ˌkrɑft /


the training, knowledge, and abilities necessary to a priest.

Origin of priestcraft

First recorded in 1475–85; priest + craft Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for priestcraft

British Dictionary definitions for priestcraft


/ (ˈpriːstˌkrɑːft) /


the art and skills involved in the work of a priest
derogatory the influence of priests upon politics or the use by them of secular power
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 priestcraft



late 15c., "business of being a priest," from priest + craft (n.). After rise of Protestantism and the Enlightenment, it acquired a pejorative sense of "arts and devices of ambitious priests for attaining and holding temporal power and social control" (1680s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper