• synonyms


[preest-kraft, -krahft]
  1. the training, knowledge, and abilities necessary to a priest.
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Origin of priestcraft

First recorded in 1475–85; priest + craft
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for priestcraft

Historical Examples of priestcraft

  • There were also Shamans of hunting, of medicine and priestcraft.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • The latter are based on conquest or priestcraft, and the former on reason.

  • "You are thinking of priestcraft, not philosophy, Cazotte," said Champfort.


    Edward Bulwer Lytton

  • Its name is Priestcraft and Intolerance under the name of “Religion.”

  • Not much ahead of ancient Egyptians in spirituality or in priestcraft!

British Dictionary definitions for priestcraft


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper