See more synonyms for acolyte on
  1. an altar attendant in public worship.
  2. Roman Catholic Church.
    1. a member of the highest-ranking of the four minor orders.
    2. the order itself.Compare exorcist(def 2), lector(def 2), ostiary(def 1).
  3. any attendant, assistant, or follower.

Origin of acolyte

1275–1325; Middle English acolite < Medieval Latin acolytus < Greek akólouthos follower, attendant, equivalent to a- prefix denoting association + -kolouthos, variant of kéleuthos road, journey Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for acolyte

follower, aid, helper, assistant

Examples from the Web for acolyte

Contemporary Examples of acolyte

Historical Examples of acolyte

  • I was to wear the red gown and the white cape of an acolyte!

  • As an acolyte, after all, he rated just barely above a layman; he had no powers whatever.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • An acolyte does well not to express his emotions too clearly.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • If you weren't an acolyte, I'd take a poke at you just to see you bounce.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • "The only Kano, the only Kano," mused the acolyte over his tea.

    The Dragon Painter

    Mary McNeil Fenollosa

British Dictionary definitions for acolyte


  1. a follower or attendant
  2. Christianity an officer who attends or assists a priest

Word Origin for acolyte

C16: via Old French and Medieval Latin from Greek akolouthos a follower
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

Word Origin and History for acolyte

early 14c., "inferior officer in the church," from Old French acolite or directly from Medieval Latin acolytus (Late Latin acoluthos), from Greek akolouthos "following, attending on," literally "having one way," from a- "together with," copulative prefix, + keleuthose "a way, road, path, track," from PIE *qeleu- (cf. Lithuanian kelias "way"). In late Old English as a Latin word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper