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Homily vs. Eulogy: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 29, 2024
A homily is a short sermon or religious speech given during a service, while a eulogy is a speech that praises someone, usually delivered at a funeral.

Key Differences

A homily is typically a short sermon or religious discourse given by a clergy member during a worship service. It focuses on interpreting scripture and offering spiritual guidance. On the other hand, a eulogy is a speech or written tribute delivered at a funeral, commemorating and praising the deceased's life and accomplishments.
Homilies are usually delivered during regular religious services and are aimed at educating and inspiring the congregation. They often include interpretations of scripture and moral teachings. In contrast, eulogies are specific to funerals or memorial services and are more personal, reflecting on the life, character, and achievements of the person who has passed away.
A homily aims to provide spiritual insight and encouragement to the living, often addressing broader religious or moral themes. Whereas a eulogy is meant to honor and remember an individual, offering comfort and consolation to the bereaved by highlighting the positive aspects and memories of the deceased.
Homilies are generally more formal and structured, adhering to the liturgical context in which they are given. Eulogies, however, can vary widely in tone and structure, ranging from formal to informal, depending on the speaker's relationship with the deceased and the setting of the service.
Both homilies and eulogies serve important roles in religious and cultural practices. While homilies provide ongoing spiritual nourishment and guidance, eulogies offer a moment of reflection and tribute, helping the grieving process by celebrating the life that was lived.

Comparison Chart


Spiritual guidance during a service
Tribute to the deceased at a funeral


Religious worship service
Funeral or memorial service

Content Focus

Scripture interpretation and moral teachings
Life, character, and achievements of the deceased


Formal and structured
Varies from formal to informal

Audience Impact

Educates and inspires the congregation
Comforts and consoles the bereaved

Homily and Eulogy Definitions


A lecture on a religious or moral topic.
The pastor’s homily focused on charity and compassion.


A speech praising someone who has died.
She gave a heartfelt eulogy at her grandmother's funeral.


A speech given as part of a liturgical ceremony.
The bishop’s homily emphasized the significance of Easter.


A tribute to the deceased.
His eulogy captured the essence of his friend’s generosity.


A discourse aimed at providing spiritual insight.
The minister’s homily was well-received by the congregation.


A commemorative address for someone who has passed away.
The eulogy brought both tears and laughter to the attendees.


A short sermon given during a religious service.
The priest delivered a homily about the importance of forgiveness.


A formal expression of praise.
The eulogy highlighted the many achievements of the deceased.


A moralizing talk.
Her father often gave a homily on the virtues of hard work.


A laudatory speech delivered at a funeral.
During the eulogy, many fond memories were shared.


A sermon, especially one intended to explain the practical and moral implications of a particular scriptural passage.


A laudatory speech or written tribute, especially one praising someone who has died.


A moralizing lecture or admonition that is often tedious or condescending.


High praise or commendation.


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).


An oration to honor a deceased person, usually at a funeral.


(Christianity) A sermon, especially concerning a practical matter.


Speaking highly of someone or something; the act of praising or commending someone or something.


A moralizing lecture.


A speech or writing in commendation of the character or services of a person; as, a fitting eulogy to worth.
Eulogies turn into elegies.


A platitude.


A formal expression of praise


A discourse or sermon read or pronounced to an audience; a serious discourse.


A serious or tedious exhortation in private on some moral point, or on the conduct of life.
As I have heard my fatherDeal out in his long homilies.


A sermon on a moral or religious topic


Who usually delivers a eulogy?

A eulogy is usually delivered by a family member, close friend, or sometimes a clergy member who knew the deceased well.

Can a eulogy be humorous?

Yes, a eulogy can include humor, depending on the personality of the deceased and the preferences of the family.

What is the main purpose of a homily?

A homily aims to provide spiritual guidance and interpret religious texts for the congregation.

What should be included in a eulogy?

A eulogy should include personal anecdotes, achievements, and qualities of the deceased.

Can a homily be delivered outside of a religious service?

Generally, a homily is specific to religious services and liturgical contexts.

What is the difference in content focus between a homily and a eulogy?

A homily focuses on scripture and moral teachings, while a eulogy focuses on the life and character of the deceased.

Do homilies follow a specific structure?

Yes, homilies usually follow a structured format aligned with the religious service.

When is a eulogy typically given?

A eulogy is typically given at a funeral or memorial service to honor and remember the deceased.

Are homilies always formal?

Yes, homilies are typically formal and structured, following a liturgical format.

Is a homily only given by clergy members?

Primarily, but in some cases, laypersons trained in preaching may deliver homilies.

What should be included in a homily?

A homily should include interpretations of scripture, moral lessons, and applications to daily life.

How long is a typical eulogy?

A eulogy usually lasts between 5 to 10 minutes, but it can vary depending on the service.

Can anyone give a eulogy?

Yes, anyone who feels they can appropriately honor the deceased may give a eulogy.

Do homilies and sermons mean the same thing?

Not exactly; a homily is a type of sermon, usually shorter and more focused on scripture interpretation.

Are homilies and eulogies both part of Christian traditions?

Homilies are part of many Christian traditions, while eulogies are common in various cultural and religious practices.

Can a homily be interactive?

Homilies are typically not interactive but are meant to be reflective and instructive.

Is a eulogy considered a religious speech?

Not necessarily; a eulogy can be secular or religious depending on the context and the beliefs of the deceased.

Can a homily be given at a funeral?

Yes, a homily can be part of a funeral service, offering spiritual comfort and reflection.

What tone should a eulogy have?

The tone can vary but should generally be respectful, reflecting the personality and life of the deceased.

Can a eulogy be written by someone other than the speaker?

Yes, eulogies can be written by someone else, especially if the speaker needs help expressing their thoughts.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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