Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Christianity Lamb of God; Jesus. Also called Paschal Lamb.
  • n. A liturgical prayer to Jesus.
  • n. The last item of the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Mass.
  • n. A musical setting for either of these texts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small model or a picture of a lamb with a cross.
  • n. A bar of wax imprinted with a similar shape and blessed by the Pope.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A figure of a lamb bearing a cross or flag.
  • A cake of wax stamped with such a figure. It is made from the remains of the paschal candles and blessed by the Pope.
  • A triple prayer in the sacrifice of the Mass, beginning with the words “Agnus Dei.”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. figure of a lamb; emblematic of Christ
  • n. a liturgical prayer beginning with these Latin words

Etymologies

Late Latin Agnus Deī : Latin agnus, lamb + Latin deī, genitive of deus, god.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin Agnus Dei ("lamb of God"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The name Agnus Dei has been given to certain discs of wax impressed with the figure of a lamb and blessed at stated seasons by the Pope.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • Having adopted the symbol of the lamb, it was represented by several forms of what is known as Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, one of which was in the form of a bleeding lamb with a vase attached into which blood is flowing, which originated in reference to the shedding of blood as a vicarious atonement for sin.

    Astral Worship

  • Behind the Agnus Dei is a throne with a cross, behind the lambs is a row of trees.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7: Gregory XII-Infallability

  • The choir sings the Agnus Dei, which is said by the celebrant together with the first Communion prayer, before he gives the kiss to the deacon.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 9: Laprade-Mass Liturgy

  • He solves the perennial problem of the "witches" by using his new hi-tech to fly in three children hanging from meathooks, who sing an Agnus Dei and then get on with the business of prophecy.

    A Blessing—Not a Curse

  • The Sanctus, for example, is based on one written for Christmas 1724; the Osanna is adapted from a secular cantata movement of 1732; and the Agnus Dei is a heavily recomposed version of a cantata movement from 1725.

    A Monumental Composer in Context

  • Christophers conducts the work exactly as Mozart left it, with a complete Kyrie, Gloria and Benedictus, just the existing fragments of the Credo and Sanctus, and no Agnus Dei.

    Mozart: Mass in C minor

  • Finally, there is Agnus Dei, consisting of a text by the Roman writer Marital, Epigrammata 12.42 ca. C.E. 101 which brings us back to reality as we depart the exploration of marriage equality in music.

    Elizabeth Donoghue: A Musical Interpretation of Same Sex Marriage

  • And then, of course, there was the essential and much-loved Agnus Dei, into which Jake Clarkson would so earnestly pour his soul to the delight of parishioners.

    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Skin Deep

  • Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Skin Deep

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