American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An elevated place or structure before which religious ceremonies may be enacted or upon which sacrifices may be offered.
- n. A structure, typically a table, before which the divine offices are recited and upon which the Eucharist is celebrated in Christian churches.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An elevated place or structure, a block of stone, or any object of appropriate form, on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned to a deity. The earliest altars were turf mounds, large flat-topped stones, or other rude elevations, natural or artificial; but when temples came to be built altars were generally made of hewn stone, marble, or metal, and became more and more ornate. Greek and Roman altars were round, triangular, or square in plan, often elaborately adorned with sculpture, and bearing inscriptions. Sometimes, as at Pergamon, the altar was a structure of vast size and complex plan, and was in itself an art monument of the highest importance. In the Jewish worship two altars were used: the altar of burnt-offering, which stood at the entrance to the tabernacle, and afterward occupied a corresponding position in the temple, and the altar of incense, which stood in the holy place. Both were made of shittim-wood, the former being overlaid with brass, the latter with gold.
- n. In most Christian churches, the communion-table. In the primitive church it was of wood, subsequently of stone, marble, or bronze, sometimes with rich architectural ornaments, sculptures, and painting. In the Roman Catholic Church the altar is the table, since the early ages of the church either of stone or including a block of stone (the altar-stone), upon which the priest consecrates the eucharist. The altar-stone is consecrated by the bishop or a specially licensed abbot, who anoints it with chrism, and often seals up certain relics in a small cavity made for the purpose; the consecration remains in virtue until either the stone or the seal is broken.
- n. The steps at the sides of a graving-dock.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A raised structure (as a square or oblong erection of stone or wood) on which sacrifices are offered or incense burned to a deity.
- n. In the Christian church, a construction of stone, wood, or other material for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; the communion table.
- n. the table in Christian churches where communion is given
- n. a raised structure on which gifts or sacrifices to a god are made
- From Latin altare ("altar"), probably related to adolere ("burn"); thus "burning place", influenced by a false connection with altus ("high"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English auter, from Old English altar and Old French auter, both from Latin altāre. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“These souls appeared "under the altar," that is, _at the foot of the altar_, being the same as that described in chap. 8: 3 -- "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
“In this the term _altar_ is alone made use of; but in the first Liturgy of King Edward the Sixth, published in 1549, the altar or table whereupon the Lord’s Supper was ministered is indifferently called _the altar_, _the Lord’s table_, _God’s board_.”
“The word altar (sometimes spelled oltar) is used in the Old Slavonic and Russian languages to denote the entire space surrounding what we know as the altar, which is included behind the iconostasis, and is the equivalent of the Greek word bema.”
“The term "altar call" is an interesting one that has theological complexities that many of us make take for granted.”
“The main altar is home to the most revered statuette in Jerez.”
“Above the altar is a portrait of St. Francis de Sales, painted by a fellow convert who became a Visitation sister.”
“Above the altar is the first of a series of six statues of Saints connected to the Benedictine Order (interestingly, and presumably to stress this connection, they all wear the black Benedictine habit, even under the Mass vestments): my patron Saint, St. Gregory the Great.”
“Beghind this altar is the image of the Entombment, which dates from before 1503 and is the last station of a way of the Cross leading up to St. Getreu:”
“Down the steps of the altar is another "pivialista" who is carrying the archiepiscopal cross and two acolytes with candles ( "cantàri").”
“The orienting of the celebrant's chair toward the altar is also quite a good (and simple) change in this sanctuary -- also placing focus upon the altar.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘altar’.
Similar words meaning different things
Protagonists and relevant words in the Book of Creation (Source: King James Bible)
Words in the Bible evoking biblical stories or with special spiritual meaning. Proper names have been reduced to the minimum.
who is this god person, anyway? (--Douglas Adams)
All and any to do with those precious hymenated...
Due to my absolute ignorance of masonry and masonic terms, this list is shamelessly copied from this masonic dictionary.
Feel free to add words (as soon as I complete my transcription).
Another news story about words being removed from a dictionary before their time. See also the list of words added to the dictionary.
words that evoke magic, mystery, mayhem, magnificence or anything else that glimmers in the grass
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