• synonyms


[sur-muh n]
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  1. a discourse for the purpose of religious instruction or exhortation, especially one based on a text of Scripture and delivered by a member of the clergy as part of a religious service.
  2. any serious speech, discourse, or exhortation, especially on a moral issue.
  3. a long, tedious speech.
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Origin of sermon

1150–1200; Middle English < Medieval Latin sermōn- (stem of sermō) speech from pulpit, Latin: discourse, equivalent to ser- (base of serere to link up, organize) + -mōn- noun suffix
Related formsser·mon·less, adjective


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2, 3. lecture. 3. harangue, tirade.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sermon

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Still I had not absolutely forgotten the sermon, nor all my good resolutions.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Such is the substitute which he offers us for the Sermon on the Mount.

  • The golden rule of the Sermon on the Mount is not applied to them.

  • Then they went through the service together, from hymn and prayer to the sermon.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Only this very morning I read her a sermon upon 'Propriety, and the fitness of things.'

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for sermon


    1. an address of religious instruction or exhortation, often based on a passage from the Bible, esp one delivered during a church service
    2. a written version of such an address
  1. a serious speech, esp one administering reproof
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Derived Formssermonic (sɜːˈmɒnɪk) or sermonical, adjective

Word Origin

C12: via Old French from Latin sermō discourse, probably from serere to join together
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 sermon


c.1200, sarmun, "a discourse upon a text of scripture; what is preached," from Anglo-French sermun, Old French sermon "speech, words, discourse; church sermon, homily" (10c.), from Latin sermonem (nominative sermo) "continued speech, conversation; common talk, rumor; learned talk, discourse; manner of speaking, literary style," originally "a stringing together of words," from PIE *ser-mo-, suffixed form of root *ser- (3) "to line up, join" (see series).

Main modern sense in English and French is elliptical for Latin sermo religiosus. In transferred (non-religious) use from 1590s. The Sermon on the Mount is in 5,6,7 Matt. and 6 Luke. Related: Sermonic; sermonical; sermonish.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper