adjective, priest·li·er, priest·li·est.

of or relating to a priest; sacerdotal: priestly vestments.
characteristic of or befitting a priest.

Origin of priestly

before 1000; Middle English prestli, Old English prēostlic. See priest, -ly
Related formspriest·li·ness, nounnon·priest·ly, adjectivepseu·do·priest·ly, adjectiveun·priest·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for priestly

Contemporary Examples of priestly

Historical Examples of priestly

  • In all editions prior to 1852, 'Priestley' is spelled 'Priestly'.

  • This is the feeling of the priests, and the people are under the priestly thumb.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • The father of Teresa Sandoval was the priestly son of a marquise of Spain!

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • O'Brien shook off the priestly hand, and fixed his eyes upon Seraphina.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • No doubt there were germs in the early Iranian religion of a priestly system.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies

British Dictionary definitions for priestly


adjective -lier or -liest

of, relating to, characteristic of, or befitting a priest
Derived Formspriestliness, noun
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 priestly

mid-15c.; see priest + -ly (1). Old English had preostlic, but the modern word seems to be a Middle English re-formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper