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Definition of Priest

(noun) A religious specialist that acts as a go-between for an individual or group and the supernatural; they also typically preside over rituals such as death rites and marriages.

Example of Priest

Priest Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: priest

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /prEEst/
  • British English – /prEEst/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /prist/
  • British English – /priːst/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: priests
  • Priestess means a female priest but the term priest can be used regardless of gender or sex.
  • The difference between a priest and a shaman is that a priest’s role is often full time but lacking direct control over supernatural power, acting only as an intermediary and a shaman’s role is often performed part time, with direct access and control of supernatural power.

Additional Information

Related Terms

Cite the Definition of Priest

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “priest.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/priest/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

priest. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/priest/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “priest.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/priest/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“priest.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/priest/>.