Definition of altar in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɔːltə/
Pronunciation: /ˈɒltə/


1The table in a Christian church at which the bread and wine are consecrated in communion services.
Example sentences
  • His mice are to be found everywhere: scurrying across church pews and altars, sitting on oak ashtrays, inside clock cases and on oak bookends, even peeking out from beneath oak dining tables and chairs designed for grand country homes.
  • In addition, above the altar in the side chapel, the church has placed a large painting by Mr Willson.
  • The stained glass windows behind the altar in Glann Church are in need of repair.
1.1A table or flat-topped block used as the focus for a religious ritual, especially for making sacrifices or offerings to a deity.
Example sentences
  • Ancient rituals have been revived, sacrificial altars rebuilt and lunar patterns observed with increasing attention.
  • But throughout the Old Testament we find human beings coming to God and finding fellowship with him at altars where sacrifices were made.
  • If it is certain that Maya altars received offerings or ritual goods, the particular ritual actions performed at these stones remains wholly unclear.



lead someone to the altar

Marry a woman.
Example sentences
  • Having done this, they were led to the altar, made oblations there, and ‘returned to themselves.’
  • But it was their impromptu meeting at a Caribbean Cup match at the Arima Velodrome in 1997 which eventually led them to the altar on January 2, 1999.
  • Then, a few scenes later, we see him smiling through his tears as he leads her to the altar.

sacrifice someone/thing on/at the altar of

Make someone or something suffer in the interests of: no businessman is going to sacrifice his company on the altar of such altruism
More example sentences
  • In the display of free and fair elections, the party was sacrificed at the altar of the interest of the nation.
  • The producer knew that this was going to be his shot and so we were sacrificed on the altar of his career.
  • One of the earliest and most helpful comments I received criticized me, basically, of sacrificing the truth at the altar of revisionist multicultural relevance.


Old English altar, alter, based on late Latin altar, altarium, from Latin altus 'high'.

  • altitude from Late Middle English:

    Altitude is from Latin altitudo, from altus ‘high’. The latter is also the source of altar (Old English), a raised structure for worship, enhance (Middle English), originally ‘make higher’; exalt (Late Middle English), with ex- ‘out, upwards’; and haughty (mid 16th century), from altus via French haut.

Words that rhyme with altar

alter, assaulter, defaulter, falter, Gibraltar, halter, Malta, palter, psalter, salter, vaulter, Walter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: altar

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