Definitions

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

  • n. Ecclesiastical The Eucharist given to a dying person or one in danger of death.
  • n. Supplies for a journey.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The Eucharist, when given to a person who is dying or one in danger of death.
  • n. Provisions, money, or other supplies given to someone setting off on a long journey (often figurative).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An allowance for traveling expenses made to those who were sent into the provinces to exercise any office or perform any service.
  • n. Provisions for a journey.
  • n. The communion, or eucharist, when given to persons in danger of death.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Provision for a journey.
  • n. In Rom, antiq., an allowance for the expenses of the journey, made to officers who were sent into the provinces to exercise any office or perform any service.
  • n. The eucharist: in old usage generally, in modern usage exclusively, employed to designate it as given to a person in danger of death.
  • n. A portable altar: so called because often taken to the bedside of the dying.

Etymologies

Late Latin viāticum, from Latin, traveling provisions, from neuter of viāticus, viatic; see viatical.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin viāticum ("travelling-money, provisions for a journey"), from viāticus ("of a road or journey"), from via ("road"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The viaticum is the tramp-money that may be claimed from his guild by the travelling workman.

    A Tramp's Wallet stored by an English goldsmith during his wanderings in Germany and France

  • In the course of time "viaticum" was applied to the

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • Orléans, in his note on this canon says that "viaticum" here means only the reconciliation and absolution granted at the hour of death to public penitents who had not performed the prescribed canonical penance, yet Macri (Hierolexicon) declares that it means simply

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • Subsequently the substantive "viaticum" figuratively meant the provision for the journey of life and finally by metaphor the provision for the passage out of this world into the next.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • The father is bearing the "viaticum" to some victim of the pestilence: one must not appear masked as a devil or a deviless in the presence of the Bon-Die.

    Two Years in the French West Indies

  • Before I had time afforded me even to guess at the reason of this sudden halt, an old man emerged from the cabin, which I saw now was a road-side ale-house, and presented Peter with a bucket of meal and water, a species of "viaticum" that he evidently was accustomed to, at this place, whether bestrode by a priest or an ambassador.

    The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer — Complete

  • "I read Harmonium in '29 or' 30, and did not find it the kind of viaticum I look for in poetry.

    orbis quintus

  • Another critique launched by Chavez is that none of the people responsible for works or missions talks about Socialism or the Bolivarian Revolution or rooting out vices ... such as a case of the manager of a Socialist factory, living in Caracas and (Chavez hinted) covering hefty viaticum and other perks, apart from the Bs. F 10,000 he earns a month.

    Venezuela's Chavez slams poor government planning, discipline, failure to apologize

  • Cardinal, accompanied by clergymen carrying cross and lanterns, adminstering viaticum eucharist to assembled group of plague victims in the streets of Rome

    The Administering of Communion

  • As regards the Viaticum of the title of the painting, it is explained in paragraph 1524 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1524 In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum.

    Viaticum

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  • from Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution

    March 6, 2011

  • Reconciliation with my friends I do not expect; nor pardon from them; at least, till in extremity, and as a viaticum.

    Clarissa Harlowe to Mrs. Norton, Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

    January 4, 2008