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[ves-per] /ˈvɛs pər/
(initial capital letter) the evening star, especially Venus; Hesperus.
Also called vesper bell. a bell rung at evening.
vespers, (sometimes initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical.
  1. a religious service in the late afternoon or the evening.
  2. the sixth of the seven canonical hours, or the service for it, occurring in the late afternoon or the evening.
  3. Roman Catholic Church. a part of the office to be said in the evening by those in major orders, frequently made a public ceremony in the afternoons or evenings of Sundays and holy days.
  4. Anglican Church. evensong (def 1).
Archaic. evening.
of, pertaining to, appearing in, or proper to the evening.
of or relating to vespers.
Origin of vesper
1350-1400; Middle English, partly < Latin: evening, evening star; partly < Old French vespres evening service < Medieval Latin vesperās, accusative plural of Latin vespera, feminine variant of vesper; cognate with Greek hésperos; akin to west Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for vesper
Historical Examples
  • The vesper hymn was sung by the whole congregation, standing.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Illustrated by vesper L. George, and by numerous photographs.

    John and Betty's History Visit Margaret Williamson
  • At the vesper hour, there came an eighth, the stench of which was horrible.

    Thais Anatole France
  • "vesper service is beginning in the chapel, sir," says the gent.

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • Ah, that is the vesper bell, as they call it—the unclean beasts that they are!

    Earl Hubert's Daughter Emily Sarah Holt
  • There's too much money being lost at the vesper Club, anyhow.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • Perhaps you have also heard of the losses of my son Percival at the vesper Club.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • At the vesper Club, always up-to-date, the ball was of platinum, not of ivory.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • For you must know that the vesper Star has a task to perform, and is not allowed to sleep.

    Fairy Book Sophie May
  • The vesper custom I saw for myself every time I took an evening drive.

    Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak Harriette McDougall
British Dictionary definitions for vesper


an evening prayer, service, or hymn
an archaic word for evening
(modifier) of or relating to vespers
See also vespers
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: evening, the evening star; compare Greek hesperos evening; see west


the planet Venus, when appearing as the evening star
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 vesper

late 14c., "the evening star," from Old French vespre, from Latin vesper (masc.), vespera (fem.) "evening star, evening, west," related to Greek hesperos, and ultimately from PIE *wespero- (cf. Old Church Slavonic večeru, Lithuanian vakaras, Welsh ucher, Old Irish fescor "evening"), from root *we- "down" (cf. Sanskrit avah "down, downward"). Meaning "evening" is attested from c.1600.

Vespers "sixth canonical hour" is attested from 1610s, from plural of Latin vespera "evening;" the native name was evensong (Old English æfen-sang).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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