Definition of acolyte in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈakəˌlīt/


1A person assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession.
Example sentences
  • There were scores of acolytes and priests, preparing to begin the ritual.
  • With no Sunday school program for the five or so children present, we were invited to be part of the Sunday morning service. I served as an acolyte, a lay reader, and even led liturgical dance.
  • Priests, acolytes and choirboys pad round a central tent that represents the holy of holies, the spiritual home of the Ark.
1.1An assistant or follower.
Example sentences
  • But he also set an undisputed world record, for the number of aides, acolytes, spongers and hangers-on that he assembled in one place at the same time.
  • After a triumphal festival performance in California last month, Smith and co will soon tour with a string of acolytes supporting.
  • It is daft only because the politicians, their acolytes and braindead supporters will label it daft.
assistant, helper, attendant, aide, minion, underling, lackey, henchman;
follower, disciple, supporter, votary


Middle English: from Old French acolyt or ecclesiastical Latin acolytus, from Greek akolouthos 'follower'.

  • English acolyte is from ecclesiastical Latin acolytus, from Greek akolouthos ‘follower’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ac·o·lyte

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.