[ ahmz ]
See synonyms for alms on
noun(used with a singular or plural verb)
  1. money, food, or other donations given to people in need; anything given as charity: She showed her generosity by giving alms regularly.

Origin of alms

First recorded before 1000; Middle English almes, almesse, Old English ælmesse (compare Old Saxon alamōsna, Old High German alamuosa, Dutch aalmoes; Old Spanish almosna ), ultimately derived from Late Latin eleēmosyna, from Greek eleēmosýnē “compassion, alms,” derivative of éleos “pity”; see eleemosynary

Words that may be confused with alms

Words Nearby alms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use alms in a sentence

  • The surplus was distributed in alms amongst the poor, a duty strenuously prescribed by their moral code.

  • In point of fact, prayers are spoken of as if they were equivalent to sacrifice, alms-giving, or any other supposed virtue.

British Dictionary definitions for alms


/ (ɑːmz) /

pl n
  1. charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy

Origin of alms

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