Definition of confraternity in English:


nounplural noun confraternities

  • A brotherhood, especially with a charitable or religious purpose.

    ‘Furthermore, clergy gave no encouragement to lay organisations such as religious confraternities or voluntary societies.’
    • ‘A host of new religious orders and lay confraternities were founded to preach, teach, tend the sick, and care for the poor.’
    • ‘Unlike their precursors, these new cycles focused almost exclusively on the founders or ideological leaders of the various religious orders or confraternities.’
    • ‘Early modern patronage came as before from courts, churches, aristocratic, and merchant families, from religious orders and confraternities.’
    • ‘Alive, they lit fewer votive candles, and showed less interest in religious confraternities or the austerities of the monastic life.’
    • ‘Clubs exist for bands, plant lovers, and religious confraternities.’
    • ‘The question remains as to why the duke supported a project that documented his political affairs within a religious painting commissioned by a confraternity.’
    • ‘But it is the responsibility of the brothers of the confraternity, who have brought the condemned man to this place of vigil, to attend to him with compassion and prepare him for the events of the next hours.’
    • ‘There is a considerable emphasis in this book on the experiences in the university, in the academies and confraternities (appropriately, given the time and place), and in the arts.’
    • ‘They had no access to the craft organizations, lay confraternities, and mutual aid societies of the artisan communities, and although trade unions of any sort were illegal they quickly began to organize collectively.’
    • ‘Besides the great princely orders, the late Middle Ages witnessed the foundation of many lesser knightly orders or confraternities with their own regulations and special devices.’
    • ‘At the local level, people belong to a range of confraternities that are under the auspices of their parish church.’
    • ‘New confraternities and devotional groups grew up almost everywhere.’
    • ‘From the middle of the fifteenth century, it was governed by a lay confraternity and was completely independent of episcopal control.’
    • ‘Discussion ranges from monastic confraternities to miracle stories and the pious legends of saints.’
    • ‘Very possibly a long period of ill health prevented the sculptor from putting the finishing touches on the statue in situ, and the confraternity consequently decided to withhold the final payment until these details were completed.’
    • ‘The comforting confraternities added to such standard ceremonies a number of special procedures for the condemned.’
    • ‘As conveyed in our opening narrative, the activities of the confraternities entailed extensive songs, prayers and consoling dialogue.’
    • ‘A more apt context in which to situate the 1960s projects is the realm of similarly category-resistant works by a far-flung confraternity of independent artists.’
    • ‘Has there ever, in cinema studies, been such a strange confraternity?’
    group, gang, mob, pack, troop, troupe, company, party, bevy, crew, body, working party, posse



/ˌkänfrəˈtərnədē/ /ˌkɑnfrəˈtərnədi/


Late Middle English from Old French confraternite, from medieval Latin confraternitas, from confrater (see confrère).