• synonyms

Ash Wednesday

  1. the first day of Lent.
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Origin of Ash Wednesday

First recorded in 1250–1300
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ash wednesday

Historical Examples

  • Ash-Wednesday fell on the 6th of February, and in Lent she might not marry.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor

    W. Llewelyn Williams.

  • It was Ash-Wednesday, the hall must be cleared; the quiet Lenten season had begun.

  • He promptly professed to be converted and was baptized on Ash-Wednesday 1677.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921

    Thomas J. Campbell

  • We have had the carnival of the Commune, and now Ash-Wednesday is come.

  • The period at which the fast of Ash-Wednesday was instituted is uncertain; but it probably dates from the eighth century at least.

British Dictionary definitions for ash wednesday

Ash Wednesday

  1. the first day of Lent, named from the practice of Christians of placing ashes on their heads as a sign of penitence
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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

ash wednesday in Culture

Ash Wednesday

The seventh Wednesday before Easter; the first day of Lent for most Christians (see also Christian); the day after “Fat Tuesday,” or Mardi Gras. It is frequently observed as a day of fasting and repentance for sin. In some churches, ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of their mortality. The words of God to Adam in the Bible (see also Bible) are often used in the ceremony: “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.