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alms

[ahmz]
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noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
  1. money, food, or other donations given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity: The hands of the beggars were outstretched for alms.
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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 confusedalms arms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alms

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She was not a conqueror of nations or a distributor of crowns, but a giver of alms.

  • He was in rags, and carried the usual beggar's wallet for food or alms.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • You are not paying for it, my child; you are only contributing some alms to the Church.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Aye, aye, it's easy to steal the goose and give the giblets in alms.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Then they wished to know if alms should be given in his name?

    The Phantom World

    Augustin Calmet


British Dictionary definitions for alms

alms

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

Word Origin and History for alms

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper