- a discourse for the purpose of religious instruction or exhortation, especially one based on a text of Scripture and delivered by a member of the clergy as part of a religious service.
- any serious speech, discourse, or exhortation, especially on a moral issue.
- a long, tedious speech.
- an address of religious instruction or exhortation, often based on a passage from the Bible, esp one delivered during a church service
- a written version of such an address
- a serious speech, esp one administering reproof
n.c.1200, sarmun, “a discourse upon a text of scripture; what is preached,” from Anglo-French sermun, Old French sermon “speech, words, discourse; church sermon, homily” (10c.), from Latin sermonem (nominative sermo) “continued speech, conversation; common talk, rumor; learned talk, discourse; manner of speaking, literary style,” originally “a stringing together of words,” from PIE *ser-mo-, suffixed form of root *ser- (3) “to line up, join” (see series). Main modern sense in English and French is elliptical for Latin sermo religiosus. In transferred (non-religious) use from 1590s. The Sermon on the Mount is in 5,6,7 Matt. and 6 Luke. Related: Sermonic; sermonical; sermonish.