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

  • n. The Lord's Prayer.
  • n. One of the large beads on a rosary on which the Lord's Prayer is said.
  • n. A sequence of words spoken as a prayer or a magic formula.
  • n. A weighted fishing line having several jointed attachments for hooks connected by beadlike swivels.
  • n. An elevator constructed of a series of doorless compartments hung on chains that move slowly and continuously, allowing passengers to step on and off at will.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The Lord's prayer, especially in a Roman Catholic context.
  • n. A rosary; a string of beads used in counting the prayers said.
  • n. A slow, continuously moving lift or elevator consisting of a loop of open fronted cabins running the height of a building. The moving compartment is entered at one level and left when the desired level is reached. Found in some university libraries. Named after the string of prayer beads due to their similar ararngement.
  • n. A patent medicine. So named because the salesman would pray the Lord's prayer over it before selling it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The Lord's prayer, so called from the first two words of the Latin version.
  • n. A beadlike ornament in moldings.
  • n. A line with a row of hooks and bead-shaped sinkers.
  • n. An elevator of an inclined endless traveling chain or belt bearing buckets or shelves which ascend on one side loaded, and empty themselves at the top.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fish with a paternoster. See paternoster, 4.
  • n. The Lord's Prayer: so called from the first two words of the Latin version.
  • n. One of the large beads in the rosary used by Roman Catholics in their devotions, at which, in telling their beads, they repeat the Lord's Prayer. Every eleventh bead is a paternoster.
  • n. Hence, the rosary itself.
  • n. An object composed of beads or of bead-like objects strung together like a rosary; specifically, a fishing-line to which hooks are attached at regular intervals, and also leaden beads or shot to sink it; also, in architecture, a kind of ornament in the shape of beads, used in baguets, astragals, etc.
  • n. Profane expletives; profanity.

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

  • n. a type of lift having a chain of open compartments that move continually in an endless loop so that (agile) passengers can step on or off at each floor
  • n. (Roman Catholic Church) the Lord's Prayer in Latin; translates as `our father'


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

Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin : Latin pater, father; see pater + Latin noster, our.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin pater ("father") noster ("our") (“our father”), the two first words of the Oratio Dominica ("the Lord's prayer").


  • To quote Wikipedia: A paternoster is a passenger elevator which consists of a chain of open compartments each usually designed for two persons that move slowly in a loop up and down inside a building without stopping.

    Riesenerfolg in Germany – the first English Teaching Theatre tour « Ken Wilson's Blog

  • Early the next morning I left Ancona with him, distracted by the tears of the two charming sisters and loaded with the blessings of the mother who, with beads in hand, mumbled her 'paternoster', and repeated her constant theme: 'Dio provedera'.

    The Complete Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

  • In Braunschweig, we played at a rather scary-looking place see picture above where the elevator was a paternoster.

    Riesenerfolg in Germany – the first English Teaching Theatre tour « Ken Wilson's Blog

  • Arabian millet back paternoster nettle creeper wood quartet book knowledge canvas-covered faery-fair sliding friction tender-bearded straw death self-convened Pro-asiatic diaphragm process brain cactus air brick all-foreseeing cutting angle prima donna separation allowance ball joint Armeno-turkish horse trade rock-roofed toddy bird


  • I always add to my paternoster, “Deliver me, O God, from the itch of bookmaking.”

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • I am not like Broussin, of whom Reminiac said, that although he could distinguish a sauce almost in his infancy, he could never be taught his creed or paternoster:

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • A thing nevertheless frequently used, and part of a gentlewoman's bringing up, to sing, dance, and play on the lute, or some such instrument, before she can say her paternoster, or ten commandments.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Then the nun turns around and nimbly steps onto one of the moving platforms of the paternoster and rises slowly heaven-wards.


  • But Hendaye; if you dropped an "h" in your paternoster they'd know out as far as the three-mile limit. '

    Funeral In Berlin

  • Leam knew nothing but a few barbarous prayers to saints, used more after the fashion of charms than anything else, the ave and the paternoster said incorrectly and not understood when said.

    Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 17, No. 097, January, 1876


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  • I remember there was one of these in Heinrich Böll's story "Dr Murkes Gesammeltes Schweigen".

    August 22, 2008

  • The continuous lift thing called a paternoster is a scary device indeed. Give it an ominous, cataclysmic-sounding name and you have not exactly the best invention ever.

    August 22, 2008

  • a kind of circular lift. One's first words upon stepping into one of these may well be a pleasingly coincidental “Oh my God!”.

    March 8, 2007

  • From Latin, it essentially means "our father".

    March 8, 2007