1. A presbyter; one who belongs to the intermediate order between bishop and deacon. He is authorised to perform all ministerial services except those of ordination and confirmation.
2. One who officiates at the altar, or performs the rites of sacrifice; one who acts as a mediator between men and the divinity or the gods in any form of religion; as, Buddhist priests. The priests of dagon. Then the priest of jupiter . . . Brought oxen and garlands . . . And would have done sacrifice with the people. Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Heb. V. 1)
In the new testament presbyters are not called priests; but christ is designated as a priest, and as a high priest, and all Christians are designated priests.
Origin: OE. Prest, preost, AS. Preost, fr. L. Presbyter, Gr. Elder, older, n, an elder, compar. Of an old man, the first syllable of which is probably akin to L. Pristinus. Cf. Pristine, Presbyter.