from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A vessel, often in the shape of an animal, used to pour water over the hands, especially in ritual cleansing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as aquæmanale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun historical A ewer or jug-like vessel, shaped like an animal or human figure, used for washing the hands.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License



  • "Statuta antiqua" (fifth century): "Subdiaconus cum ordinatur ... accipiat ... de manu archidiaconi urceolum, aquamanile et manutergium" (when a subdeacon is ordained he shall receive from the hand of the archdeacon a water-pitcher, a finger-bowl, and a manuterge) is written regarding the rite used in bestowing the subdiaconate, a ceremony in practice, of course, today.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 9: Laprade-Mass Liturgy

  • Here we must mention first of all the numerous baptismal fonts of bronze, which are decorated on their outer sheathing with representations in relief and architectural ornament, next the seven-armed candelabra, door-knobs, water-vessels (aquamanile), lecterns, especially the beautiful eagle-lecterns.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • Several new varieties of metalwork also were added to the old, especially the aquamanile, i.e., a vessel in the form of an animal, used for washing the hands, and the metal structures placed upon the altar; other articles assumed new forms.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman


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  • from Wikipedia:

    In Christian liturgical usage, an aquamanile (plural aquamanilia or simply aquamaniles) is a special ewer for the ritual washing of hands (aqua + manos) over a basin, in the ritual of the lavabo, in which the officiating priest washes his hands before vesting, again before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass.

    January 24, 2008

  • In the Middle Ages, "Contrary, once again, to common belief, great attention was given to washing before the meal, an activity that might take place before sitting down, using bowls set near the dining table for that purpose, or while seated using special containers with pouring spouts called aquamaniles, of which a number have survived, often in the form of real or mythological beasts or representing moral or comical observations."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 36.

    November 27, 2017

  • There once was a crank named O’Reilly

    Who lived life medieval entirely.

    He slept with his dogs,

    Wore archaic togs,

    And washed with an aquamanile.

    May 30, 2019