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

  • noun A book containing Christian prayers and other devotional texts arranged according to the canonical hours and the feast days of the liturgical calendar. Many medieval books of hours, intended for use by wealthy or aristocratic laypeople, are noted for their rich illumination.

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  • A book for private devotions containing prayers for different hours of the day. Each book of hours is a a collection of texts for each liturgical hour of the day, along with other texts such as calendars, prayers, psalms and masses for holy days. Often these books were richly illustrated with illuminations. (From ArtLex)

    June 5, 2008