Definitions

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

  • n. A brief petition and response used in various liturgies of several Christian churches, beginning with or composed of the words "Lord, have mercy.”
  • n. A brief petition and response that together comprise the first item of the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Mass.
  • n. A musical setting of either of these sets of petition and response.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See Kyrie eleison.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The Kyrie eleϊson, especially in its western form (with Christe eleϊson), and the repetitions collectively, as used at the beginning of the Roman mass or as at the beginning of the Anglican conimunion office.
  • n. The musical setting of these words.

Etymologies

Late Latin Kȳrie (eleison), from Greek Kūrie eleēson, Lord, have mercy : Kūrie, vocative of kūrios, lord, master; see keuə- in Indo-European roots + eleēson, aorist imperative of elein, to show mercy (from eleos, mercy).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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