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

  • noun The portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant through the desert.
  • noun A case or box on a church altar containing the consecrated host and wine of the Eucharist.
  • noun A place of worship.
  • noun A niche for a statue or relic.
  • noun Nautical A boxlike support in which the heel of a mast is stepped.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To sojourn or abide for a time; take up a temporary habitation or residence.
  • noun A tent; a pavilion; a booth; a slightly constructed habitation or shelter, either fixed or movable; hence, a habitation in general, especially one regarded as temporary; a place of sojourn; a transient abode.
  • noun In Biblical phraseology, the human frame as the temporary abode of the soul, or of man as a spiritual immortal being.
  • noun In Jewish hist., a tent constructed to serve as the portable sanctuary of the nation before its final settlement in Palestine.
  • noun Hence A place or house of worship; especially, in modern use, an edifice for public worship designed for a large audience: often now the distinctive name assumed for such an edifice.
  • noun A receptacle for the reserved eucharist; especially, a constructional receptacle for this purpose, containing the pyx.
  • noun In medieval architecture, a canopied stall, niche, or pinnacle; a cabinet or shrine ornamented with openwork tracery, etc.; an arched canopy over a tomb, an altar, etc.
  • noun Nautical, an elevated socket for a river-boat's mast, or a projecting post to which a mast may be hinged when fitted for lowering to pass beneath bridges.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To dwell or reside for a time; to be temporary housed.
  • noun A slightly built or temporary habitation; especially, a tent.
  • noun (Jewish Antiq.) A portable structure of wooden framework covered with curtains, which was carried through the wilderness in the Israelitish exodus, as a place of sacrifice and worship.
  • noun Hence, the Jewish temple; sometimes, any other place for worship.
  • noun Figuratively: The human body, as the temporary abode of the soul.
  • noun Any small cell, or like place, in which some holy or precious things was deposited or kept.
  • noun The ornamental receptacle for the pyx, or for the consecrated elements, whether a part of a building or movable.
  • noun A niche for the image of a saint, or for any sacred painting or sculpture.
  • noun Hence, a work of art of sacred subject, having a partially architectural character, as a solid frame resting on a bracket, or the like.
  • noun A tryptich for sacred imagery.
  • noun A seat or stall in a choir, with its canopy.
  • noun (Naut.) A boxlike step for a mast with the after side open, so that the mast can be lowered to pass under bridges, etc.
  • noun (Jewish Antiq.) one of the three principal festivals of the Jews, lasting seven days, during which the people dwelt in booths formed of the boughs of trees, in commemoration of the habitation of their ancestors in similar dwellings during their pilgrimage in the wilderness.
  • noun rich canopy work like that over the head of niches, used over seats or stalls, or over sepulchral monuments.

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

  • noun any temporary dwelling, a hut, tent, booth.
  • noun The portable tent used before the construction of the temple, where the shekinah (presence of God) was believed to dwell.
  • noun transferred to the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem as continuing the functions of the earlier tabernacle
  • noun Any portable shrine used in heathen or idolatrous worship
  • noun A sukkah, the booth or 'tabernacle' used during the Jewish Feast of Sukkot.
  • noun A small ornamented cupboard or box used for the reserved sacrament of the Eucharist, normally located in an especially prominent place in a Roman Catholic church.
  • noun US A temporary place of worship, especially a tent, for a tent meeting, as with a venue for revival meetings.
  • noun figuratively of any abode or dwelling place, especially of the human body as the temporary dwelling place of the soul, or life
  • noun nautical A hinged device allowing for the easy folding of a mast 90 degrees from perpendicular, as for transporting the boat on a trailer, or passing under a bridge.

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

  • noun the Mormon temple
  • noun (Judaism) the place of worship for a Jewish congregation
  • noun (Judaism) a portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant on their exodus


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin tabernāculum, from Latin, tent, diminutive of taberna, hut; see tavern.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English from the 14th century, from Old French, from Latin tabernaculum ("tent, booth, shed"), the diminutive of taberna ("hut, shed")


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  • also: the support for the bottom of a mast on a yacht

    March 27, 2008