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priest +‎ king


priest-king (plural priest-kings)

  1. (religion) A sacred king, a monarch with prominent religious attributes.
    • 1606, J. Sylvester translating G. de S. Du Bartas as Deuine Weekes & Wks., ii. iv. iii. 169
      The while this Priest-King sacrifiz'd To's clov'n-foot God in Bethel (self-devis'd).
    • 1920, H.G. Wells, Outl. Hist., iii. xix. 124/2
      The beginnings of organized war, first as a bickering between villages, and then as a more disciplined struggle between the priest-king and god of one city and those of another.
  2. (religion) A theocrat, a sovereign high priest.
    • 1877, J.E. Carpenter translating C.P. Tiele as Outl. Hist. Relig., 55
      Lower Egypt throws off the yoke of the priest-Kings of Thebes.
    • 1995 September 21, N.Y. Times Review of Books, 32/1
      He was more like a priest-king, a combination of the Pope and a constitutional monarch.