Definitions

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

  • n.pl. Money or goods given as charity to the poor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something given to the poor as charity, such as money, clothing or food.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Anything given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing; a gift of charity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • The act of relieving the needy; charitable aid; ministration to the poor: as, to give money in alms.
  • That which is given to the poor or needy; a charitable dole; anything bestowed in charity.

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

  • n. money or goods contributed to the poor

Etymologies

Middle English almes, from Old English ælmesse, from Late Latin eleēmosyna, from Greek eleēmosunē, pity, charity, from eleēmōn, pitiful, from eleos, pity.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English ælmesse, from Ancient Greek ἐλεημοσύνη (eleēmosynē, "alms"), from ἐλεέω (eleëō, "I have mercy"), from ἔλεος (eleos, "mercy"). (Wiktionary)

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