priest” + “craft


priestcraft ‎(usually uncountable, plural priestcrafts)

  1. the craft of performing the duties of a priest
  2. (pejorative) priestly policy directed towards worldly ends
    • 1681: John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel:
      In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin, before polygamy was made a sin
    • 1831: The Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 26:29
      He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
    • 1891: Horace (Horatio) Smith, Address to a Mummy:
      Perhaps thou wert a priest,--if so, my struggles / Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.
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