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90s Slang You Should Know


[ahmz] /ɑmz/
noun, (used with a singular or plural verb)
money, food, or other donations given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity:
The hands of the beggars were outstretched for alms.
Origin of alms
before 1000; Middle English almes, almesse, Old English ælmesse (compare Old Saxon alamōsna, Old High German alamuosa, Dutch aalmoes; Old Spanish almosna) ≪ Late Latin eleēmosyna < Greek eleēmosýnē compassion, alms, derivative of éleos pity. See eleemosynary
Can be confused
alms, arms. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for alms
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What the Puerto Ricans want is not alms, but commercial liberty.

  • She stopped, gave him an alms and then continued on her way.

    The Blonde Lady Maurice Leblanc
  • Some one gave Pambo gold to distribute in alms, and told him to count it.

  • Anchorites lived on alms, and were also visited to desire their prayers.

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • I am a miserable wretch, and starving; give me an alms out of your booty!

    The Bravo of Venice Heinrich Zschokke
  • She gripped them, one upon the other, to keep from stretching them for alms.

    Country Neighbors Alice Brown
  • In the next act there is a scene for Fides in the streets of Mnster, in which, reduced to penury, she begs for alms.

  • But to be stabbed in the midst of his good deeds of alms, and by the hand of one whom he loved!

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • The little donkey-boy, lolling down the road, started to follow him, crying out for alms in the name of Allah.

    The Palace of Darkened Windows Mary Hastings Bradley
British Dictionary definitions for alms


plural noun
charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy
Word Origin
Old English ælmysse, from Late Latin eleēmosyna, from Greek eleēmosunē pity; see eleemosynary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alms

Old English ælmesse "alms, almsgiving," from Proto-Germanic *alemosna (cf. Old Saxon alamosna, Old High German alamuosan, Old Norse ölmusa), an early borrowing of Vulgar Latin *alemosyna (source of Old Spanish almosna, Old French almosne, Italian limosina), from Church Latin eleemosyna (Tertullian, 3c.), from Greek eleemosyne "pity, mercy," in Ecclesiastical Greek "charity, alms," from eleemon "compassionate," from eleos "pity, mercy," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative of cries for alms. Spelling perversion in Vulgar Latin is perhaps by influence of alimonia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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