Etymology of the word ‘Priest’
O.E. preost, shortened from the older Germanic form represented by O.S., O.H.G. prestar, O.Fris. prestere, from V.L. *prester “priest,” from L.L. presbyter “presbyter, elder,” from Gk. presbyteros (see Presbyterian). In O.T. sense, a translation of Heb. kohen, Gk. hiereus, L. sacerdos.
1640, as name of Scottish church governed by elders (as opposed to bishops), from presbyter “an elder in a church” (1590s), from L.L. presbyter “an elder,” from Gk. presbyteros “an elder,” also an adj. meaning “older,” comparative of presbys “old,” possibly originally “one who leads the cattle,” from *pres– “before” + root of bous “cow.” Presbytery “a part of a church reserved for the clergy” is recorded from early 15c. Meaning “body of elders in the Presbyterian system” is recorded from 1570s.