n. pl. hom·i·lies
1. A sermon, especially one intended to explain the practical and moral implications of a particular scriptural passage.
2. A moralizing lecture or admonition that is often tedious or condescending.
3. A platitudinous or inspirational saying: "'Receiving is a form of giving,' she said, in one of those sudden banal homilies that came to her every now and again" (Willie Morris).
[Middle English omelie, from Old French, from Late Latin homīlia, from Greek homīliā, discourse, from homīlos, crowd; see sem-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.