Webster 1913 Edition



, p. pr. of
. See
One who performs a public religious rite; – applied particularly to an officiating priest in the Roman Catholic Church, as distinguished from his assistants.

Definition 2024



See also: célébrant



celebrant (plural celebrants)

  1. A person who officiates at a religious ceremony, especially a marriage or the Eucharist.
    • 1833, William M′Gavin, The Protestant: Essays on the Principal Points of Controversy between the Church of Rome and the Reformed, Volume 2 page 496,
      The very reverend celebrant was then conducted to the platform of the altar, and the postulant and her attendants having genuflected, the ceremony of reception began with the preparatory prayers and responseries.
    • 1851, John Bate Cardale, Catholic apostolic church services, Readings upon the Liturgy and Other Divine Offices of the Church, page 140,
      The most appropriate mode of ordering the holy vessels at this part of the service, previously to preparing them for the communion, is for the celebrant to place both the patten and the chalice in the middle of the altar, in a line with himself, the chalice behind and the patten in front; for they are presented before God as one Eucharist.
    • 1980, Georges Dumézil, Camillus: a Study of Indo-European Religion as Roman History, page 197,
      Through it, through what takes place, the celebrants try to obtain a result, to influence the course of the hoped for or dreaded events that either depend on the current dispositions of a divinity or obey gestures or words formerly taught or exercised by a divinity or an august ancestor.
  2. (Australia, New Zealand) A person who conducts formal ceremonies in the community, particularly weddings, baby namings, renewals of wedding vows and funerals.
    • 1983, CCH Australia Limited, Guidebook to Australian Family Law: With Family Law Act and Regulations, page 14,
      These are celebrants who marry people at registry offices.
    • 1997, Helen Wilkinson, The Proposal: Giving Marriage Back to the People, page 41,
      Church and state are completely separate but all clergy can be licensed as civil celebrants for legal purposes.
    • 2006, Timoshenko Aslanides, Occasions for Words: Poems for Birth, Marriage, Death and Much Between, page v,
      When we first began as celebrants back in 1973, we had no poetry in our heads at all.
  3. A person who is celebrating something.
    • 1977 February 10, Gerri Major, Gerri Major's Society World: Inaugural Balls Have Largest Black Participation Ever, JET, page 39,
      Once inside, about all that the celebrants could do was nod their heads to the music and pat their feet.
    • 1990, Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), Vespers: A Novel of the 87th Precinct, page 28,
      [] the celebrants had responded “All hail Satan!” and the girl acolyte had come to the altar and raised her garments to the priest, revealing herself naked beneath them.
    • 1997, Thomas Andrew Bailey, David M. Kennedy, The American Spirit: To 1877, page 12,
      The procession began, and the celebrants filed into the temple patio to dance the Dance of the Serpent.

Derived terms





  1. present participle of celebrar




  1. third-person plural present active indicative of celebrō