sermonize (sermonizes, present participle sermonizing; past and past participle sermonized)

  1. (intransitive) To speak in the manner of a sermon; to preach; to propagate one's morality or opinions with speech.
    • 1636, Henry Burton (theologian), For God, and the King, Amsterdam: J.F. Stam, p. 150,
      And doe not our Prelates thus, when […] they disgrace and traduce Preaching, calling it in scorne, Sermonizing?
    • 1776, Elizabeth Griffith, The Story of Lady Juliana Harley, London: T. Cadell, Volume 1, Letter 1, p. 2,
      Don’t be alarmed, I am not going to sermonize—but what is almost as dull, to narrate.
    • 1872, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 45,
      “ […] I am perhaps talking rather superfluously; but a man likes to assume superiority over himself, by holding up his bad example and sermonizing on it.”
    • 1949, Sinclair Lewis, The God-Seeker, New York: Popular Library, Chapter 13, p. 69,
      […] she would distrust him if she saw him again before he had achieved all his promises; had journeyed clear out to the Mississippi […] and had become fluent in sermonizing in the Dakota language. No, he must see her next in his glory as a practicing missionary.
    • 1983, Cynthia Ozick, The Cannibal Galaxy, New York: Dutton, 1984, p. 12,
      Sometimes Claude would lead Joseph to the Louvre—a magnificence Joseph had never before entered—and point out the darker paintings and sermonize on them; Claude was an aesthete.
  2. (transitive) To preach a sermon to (somebody); to give (somebody) instruction or admonishment on the basis of one's morality or opinions.
    • 1798, Thomas Holcroft, He’s Much to Blame, London: G.G. and J. Robinson, Act IV, Scene 11, pp. 68-69,
      He wishes, I suppose, to sermonize me: but I shall not give him an opportunity—
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Chapter 17,
      “ […] we sermonised her on the presumption of attempting to teach such clever blades as we were, when she was herself so ignorant.”
    • 1869, Robert Browning, The Ring and the Book, London: Smith, Elder, Volume 4, Book 10, lines 459-461, p. 21,
      Why was the choice o’ the man to niche himself
      Perversely ’neath the tower where Time’s own tongue
      Thus undertakes to sermonize the world?
    • 1914, Arnold Bennett, The Price of Love, London: Methuen, Chapter 6, p. 126,
      He could talk morals to others in the grand manner, and with positive enjoyment, but to be sermonized himself secretly exasperated him because it constrained him and made him self-conscious.
    • 1953, Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March, New York: Viking, 1960, Chapter 3, p. 28,
      […] maybe she sermonized us both about love because of her sons.
  3. (transitive) To say in the manner of a sermon or lecture.
    • 1896, Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto, New York: Appleton, Chapter 7, p. 151,
      “Children, children! Woe, how you do sin!” Mrs. Kavarsky sermonized. “Come now, obey an older person […] ”
    • 1917, George Creel (uncredited author) and Douglas Fairbanks, Laugh and Live, New York: Britton, Chapter 17, p. 144,
      Then as one man they jumped to their feet and by reason of prolonged cheering gave national impulse to a thought which has since been sermonized from thousands of pulpits.
    • 1960, Paul Alexander Bartlett, When the Owl Cries, New York: Macmillan, Chapter 11,
      “I tell you, we’re in for bad times,” de Selva sermonized before a group. “Our haciendas are threatened by renegades […] ”
  4. (intransitive) To inculcate rigid rules.
    • 1748, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Letters to His Son, London: J. Dodsley, 6th edition, 1775, Volume 1, Letter 106, p. 309,
      If you consider my letters in their true light as conveying to you the advice of a Friend, who sincerely wishes you happiness, and desires to promote your pleasures, you will both read and attend them; but, if you consider them in their opposite, and very false light, as the dictates of a morose and sermonizing Father, I am sure they will be not only unattended to, but unread.
  • (speak in the manner of a sermon) moralize
  • (preach a sermon to (somebody)) lecture

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