- a loose-fitting, broad-sleeved white vestment, worn over the cassock by clergy and choristers.
- a garment in which the two halves of the front cross diagonally.
Origin of surplice
Examples from the Web for surplice
He returned the bottle to his pocket, and went to the vestry for his surplice.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
At length a priest in a surplice came out of a little cottage.L'Assommoir
The old reprobate with the surplice burst into a volley of bad language.The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle
In 1565 he, with the Fellows and scholars, appeared in Chapel without the surplice.St. John's College, Cambridge
Robert Forsyth Scott
The sight of a surplice, the sound of bells, scares them away.
- a loose wide-sleeved liturgical vestment of linen, reaching to the knees, worn over the cassock by clergymen, choristers, and acolytes
Word Origin and History for surplice
"loose white robe," late 13c., from Old French surpeliz, from Medieval Latin superpellicium "a surplice," literally "an over fur garment," from Latin super "over" (see super-) + Medieval Latin pellicium "fur garment, tunic of skins," from Latin pellis "skin" (see film (n.)). So called because it was put on over fur garments worn by clergymen to keep warm in unheated medieval churches.