Definition of sermon noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːmən//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrmən//
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  1. 1a talk on a moral or religious subject, usually given by a religious leader during a service Synonymsspeechlecture address talk sermonThese are all words for a talk given to an audience.speech a formal talk given to an audience:Several people made speeches at the wedding.lecture a talk given to a group of people to tell them about a particular subject, often as part of a university or college course:a lecture on the Roman army a course/​series of lecturesaddress a formal speech given to an audience:a televised presidential addressspeech or address?A speech can be given on a public or private occasion; an address is always public:He gave an address at the wedding.talk a fairly informal session in which somebody tells a group of people about a subject:She gave an interesting talk on her visit to China.sermon a talk on a moral or religious subject, usually given by a religious leader during a service:to preach a sermonPatterns a long/​short speech/​lecture/​address/​talk/​sermon a keynote speech/​lecture/​address to write/​prepare/​give/​deliver/​hear a(n) speech/​lecture/​address/​talk/​sermon to attend/​go to a lecture/​talk CollocationsReligionBeing religious believe in God/​Christ/​Allah/​free will/​predestination/​heaven and hell/​an afterlife/​reincarnation be/​become a believer/​an atheist/​an agnostic/​a Christian/​Muslim/​Hindu/​Buddhist, etc. convert to/​practise/ (especially US English) practice a religion/​Buddhism/​Catholicism/​Christianity/​Islam/​Judaism, etc. go to church/(North American English) temple (= the synagogue) go to the local church/​mosque/​synagogue/​gurdwara belong to a church/​a religious community join/​enter the church/​a convent/​a monastery/​a religious sect/​the clergy/​the priesthood praise/​worship/​obey/​serve/​glorify GodCelebrations and ritual attend/​hold/​conduct/​lead a service perform a ceremony/​a rite/​a ritual/​a baptism/​the Hajj/​a mitzvah carry out/​perform a sacred/​burial/​funeral/​fertility/​purification rite go on/​make a pilgrimage celebrate Christmas/​Easter/​Eid/​Ramadan/​Hanukkah/​Passover/​Diwali observe/​break the Sabbath/​a fast/​Ramadan deliver/​preach/​hear a sermon lead/​address the congregation say/​recite a prayer/​blessingReligious texts and ideas preach/​proclaim/​spread the word of God/​the Gospel/​the message of Islam study/​follow the dharma/​the teachings of Buddha read/​study/​understand/​interpret scripture/​the Bible/​the Koran/​the gospel/​the Torah be based on/​derive from divine revelation commit/​consider something heresy/​sacrilegeReligious belief and experience seek/​find/​gain enlightenment/​wisdom strengthen/​lose your faith keep/​practise/​practice/​abandon the faith save/​purify/​lose your soul obey/​follow/​keep/​break/​violate a commandment/​Islamic law/​Jewish law be/​accept/​do God’s will receive/​experience divine grace achieve/​attain enlightenment/​salvation/​nirvana undergo a conversion/​rebirth/​reincarnation hear/​answer a prayer commit/​confess/​forgive a sin do/​perform penance
  2. 2(informal, usually disapproving) moral advice that a person tries to give you in a long talk We had to listen to a long sermon on the evils of wasting time.
  3. Word Origin Middle English (also in the sense ‘speech, discourse’): from Old French, from Latin sermo(n-) ‘discourse, talk’.Extra examples He gave a long sermon against abortion. She preached a sermon on forgiveness. He preached a long sermon against the war.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sermon