- (usually initial capital letter) Also called Holy Grail. a cup or chalice that in medieval legend was associated with unusual powers, especially the regeneration of life and, later, Christian purity, and was much sought after by medieval knights: identified with the cup used at the Last Supper and given to Joseph of Arimathea.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) Informal. any greatly desired and sought-after objective; ultimate ideal or reward.
Origin of grail
Examples from the Web for grail
Contemporary Examples of grail
The grail in this story is the guitar that Gus kept on top of his piano, too high for Keith to reach.Exile on Sesame Street: Keith Richards Writes a Kids’ Book
September 12, 2014
In picking Paul Ryan, Romney, as the Grail Knight said to Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, "chose wisely."Paul Ryan Is a Smart Pick
August 11, 2012
Historical Examples of grail
So in Parsifal the white dove descends, overshadowing the Grail.Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
The Grail vision had, then, taught the "guileless one" nothing.
Is the Grail, too, then turned into a mocking spirit to the unhappy Amfortas?
In these modern days he rides abroad, seeking the Graft instead of the Grail.Cabbages and Kings
It complimentarily introduces a hint or two of Wagner's Grail motif.Contemporary American Composers
- See Holy Grail
Word Origin and History for grail
c.1300, "the Holy Grail," from Old French graal "Holy Grail, cup," earlier "large shallow dish," from Medieval Latin gradalis "a flat dish or shallow vessel," perhaps ultimately from Latin crater "bowl," from Greek krater "bowl, especially for mixing wine with water."
Holy Grail is anglicized from Middle English Sangreal (Saint graal), grafted awkwardly onto the Celtic Arthurian legends 12c. by Church scribes probably in place of some pagan otherworldly object. It was said to be the cup into which Joseph of Arimathea received the last drops of blood of Christ (according to the writers who picked up the thread of Chrétien de Troyes' "Perceval") or the dish from which Christ ate the Last Supper (Robert de Boron), and ultimately was identified as both (e.g. "þe dische wiþ þe blode," 14c.).