alms


alms
\ \ [OE] The word alms has become much reduced in its passage through time from its ultimate Greek source, eleēmosúnēpity, alms’.
\ \ This was borrowed into post-classical (Christian) Latin as eleēmosyna, which subsequently became simplified in Vulgar Latin to *alimosina (source of the word for ‘alms’ in many Romance languages, such as French aumône and Italian limosina). At this stage Germanic borrowed it, and in due course dispersed it (German almosen, Dutch aalmoes).
\ \ It entered Old English as ælmesse, which became reduced in Middle English to almes and finally by the 17th century to alms (which because of its -s had come to be regarded as a plural noun). The original Greek eleēmosúnē is itself a derivative, of the adjective eleémōncompassionate’, which in turn came from the noun éleospity’.
\ \ From medieval Latin eleēmosyna was derived the adjective eleēmosynarius (borrowed into English in the 17th century as the almost unpronounceable eleemosynarygiving alms’).
\ \ Used as a noun, this passed into Old French as a(u)lmonier, and eventually, in the 13th century, became English aumonergiver of alms’. The modern sense of almoner as a hospital social worker did not develop until the end of the 19th century.
\ \ Cf.ALMONER, ELEEMOSYNARY

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Alms — or almsgiving exists in a number of religions. In general, it involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue. In Abrahamic religions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to …   Wikipedia

  • Alms — ([add]mz), n. sing. & pl. [OE. almes, almesse, AS. [ae]lmysse, fr. L. eleemosyna, Gr. elehmosy nh mercy, charity, alms, fr. eleei^n to pity. Cf. {Almonry}, {Eleemosynary}.] Anything given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alms — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Barbara Alms (* 1945), deutsche Kunsthistorikerin Eckardt Alms (* 1954), deutscher Fußballspieler Gernot Alms (* 1962), deutscher Fußballspieler ALMS steht für American Le Mans Series, eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • alms — (n.) O.E. ælmesse alms, almsgiving, from P.Gmc. *alemosna (Cf. O.S. alamosna, O.H.G. alamuosan, O.N. ölmusa), an early borrowing of V.L. *alemosyna (Cf. O.Sp. almosna, O.Fr. almosne, It. limosina), from Church L. eleemosyna (Tertullian, 3c.),… …   Etymology dictionary

  • alms — alms; alms·deed; alms·man; …   English syllables

  • alms — [ämz] n. pl. alms [ME almesse < OE ælmesse < LL(Ec) eleemosyna < Gr eleēmosynē, pity, mercy (in LXX & N.T., charity, alms) < eleēmōn, merciful < eleos, mercy, orig., woe, prob. < IE echoic base * el > Norw dial. jalm, noise]… …   English World dictionary

  • alms — [a:mz US a:mz, a:lmz] n [plural] literary [: Old English; Origin: Almesse, Alms, from Late Latin eleemosyna, from Greek, from eleos pity ] money, food etc given to poor people in the past …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • alms — index contribution (donation), donation, largess (gift) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • alms — [ amz ] noun plural OLD FASHIONED money, food, or clothes given to poor people …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • alms — benefaction, contribution, *donation Analogous words: *charity, philanthropy: dole, pittance, allowance, *ration …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • alms — [n] handout aid, assistance, benefaction, charity, contribution, dole, donation, offering; concepts 337,657 …   New thesaurus


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