[ awl-ter ]
See synonyms for altar on
  1. an elevated place or structure, as a mound or platform at which religious rites are performed or on which sacrifices are offered to gods, ancestors, etc.

  2. Ecclesiastical. communion table.

  1. Altar, Astronomy. the constellation Ara.

  2. (in a dry dock) a ledge for supporting the feet of shorings.

Idioms about altar

  1. lead to the altar, to marry: After a five-year courtship, he led her to the altar.

Origin of altar

First recorded before 1000; Middle English alter, altar, auter, Old English altar, altare, alter; (compare Middle Dutch outaer, Old Saxon, Old Norse altari, Old High German altāri ), from Latin altāria (the more frequently used plural of altāre used in a singular sense), of disputed origin and formation, but probably akin to Latin adolēre “to make a burnt offering, cremate,” Umbrian uřetu “let it burn, set incense on the fire”

Words that may be confused with altar

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

How to use altar in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for altar


/ (ˈɔːltə) /

  1. a raised place or structure where sacrifices are offered and religious rites performed

  2. (in Christian churches) the communion table

  1. a step in the wall of a dry dock upon which structures supporting a vessel can stand

  2. lead to the altar informal to marry

Origin of altar

Old English, from Latin altāria (plural) altar, from altus high

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