Share this entry

Share this page

alms

Line breaks: alms
Pronunciation: /ɑːmz
 
/

Definition of alms in English:

plural noun

(In historical contexts) money or food given to poor people: the riders stopped to distribute alms
More example sentences
  • Setting the tone for the rest of the journey, the queen made public appearances and distributed alms to the poor.
  • They pray five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, perform the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca and give alms to the poor.
  • The point used to be to give alms to poor people on Hallowe'en and if you didn't then bad luck would come to you.
Synonyms
gift(s), donation(s), charity, handout(s), bounty, benefaction, subsidy, offering(s), contribution(s), endowment, favour(s), largesse;
in parts of the Middle & Far Eastbaksheesh;
Islam zakat
rare donative

Origin

Old English ælmysse, ælmesse, from Christian Latin eleemosyna, from Greek eleēmosunē 'compassion', from eleēmōn 'compassionate', from eleos 'mercy'.

More
  • Old English ælmesse comes from Christian Latin eleemosyna, from Greek eleēmosunē ‘compassion’; based on eleos ‘mercy’. The ‘s’ therefore was not originally a plural ending, and people wrote about ‘an alms’ until the middle of the 16th century.

Words that rhyme with alms

Brahms, man-at-arms

Definition of alms in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day reciprocity
Pronunciation: ˌrɛsɪˈprɒsɪti
noun
exchanging things with others for mutual benefit…