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lent

[ lent ]
/ lɛnt /
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verb

simple past tense and past participle of lend.

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Definition for lent (2 of 3)

Lent
[ lent ]
/ lɛnt /

noun

(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.

Origin of Lent

First recorded before 900; Middle English leynte, Old English læncte “spring, springtime, Lent,” literally, “lengthening (of daylight hours)”; cognate with Dutch lente(n), German Lenz “spring” (only English has the ecclesiastical sense); see origin at Lenten,long1
post-Lent, adjective

Definition for lent (3 of 3)

-lent

a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin, variant of -ulent: pestilent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is Lent?

Lent is the season of fasting and penitence that precedes Easter in some branches of Christianity.

It is commonly observed by abstaining from certain things.

When is Lent?

The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, and the last day is Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). Since Easter Sunday moves every year, the start of Lent can fall between February 4 and March 10. The end of Lent can fall between March 21 and April 24. Lent is often considered a period of 40 days, but it actually consists of 40 weekdays and 46 days total.

In 2021, Lent will begin on February 17 and end on April 3. In 2022, Lent will begin on March 2 and end on April 14.

More information and context on Lent

The first records of the word Lent come from before 900. It comes from the Old English word læncte, meaning “lengthening (of daylight hours)” (or, less literally, “spring” or “springtime”). Easter itself is tied to the start of springtime, as it falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

Christians celebrate Easter as the day of Jesus’s resurrection, and many see Lent as a time to reflect on his death and sacrifice. This often involves fasting and acts of penitence. Most Christians do not fast for the entirety of Lent, but some abstain from something, such as sweets, as an act of self-discipline (meaning they give it up during Lent).

Because Lent is a time of fasting and abstaining, the period leading up to it has become, for some, a time for indulging before the Lenten fast begins. This is especially the case for the Tuesday before Lent begins, which can be called Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday (which is sometimes called Pancake Day due to the tradition of eating pancakes on that day).

 What are some terms that often get used in discussing Lent?

How is Lent discussed in real life?

Lent is known among Christians as a time of fasting and abstaining. For this reason, it is sometimes preceded by a day of indulging, and this tradition has become popular in some places even among non-Christians.

 

Try using Lent!

True or False?

The timing of Lent depends on the date of Easter.

British Dictionary definitions for lent (1 of 2)

lent
/ (lɛnt) /

verb

the past tense and past participle of lend

British Dictionary definitions for lent (2 of 2)

Lent
/ (lɛnt) /

noun

Christianity the period of forty weekdays lasting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, observed as a time of penance and fasting commemorating Jesus' fasting in the wilderness
(modifier) falling within or associated with the season before EasterLent observance
(plural) (at Cambridge University) Lent term boat races
Old English lencten, lengten spring, literally: lengthening (of hours of daylight)
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

Cultural definitions for lent

Lent

In Christianity, a time of fasting and repentance in the spring, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending several weeks later on Easter.

To “give something up for Lent” is to abandon a pleasurable habit as an act of devotion and self-discipline.
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.
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