[pey-ter-nos-ter, pah‐, pat-er‐]


(often initial capital letter) Also Pater Noster. the Lord's Prayer, especially in the Latin form.
a recitation of this prayer as an act of worship.
one of certain beads in a rosary, regularly every 11th bead, differing in size or material from the rest and indicating that the Lord's Prayer is to be said.
any fixed recital of words used as a prayer or magical charm.
a doorless, continuously moving elevator for passengers or goods, having numerous platforms or compartments that rise or descend on a moving chain.
(initial capital letter) Architecture. pearl molding.

Origin of paternoster

before 1000; Middle English, Old English: Lord's prayer < Latin pater noster our father, its first two words in the Vulgate (Matthew VI: 9

pearl molding

noun Architecture.

a molding having the form of a row of pearls.
Also called bead molding, Pater·noster. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for paternoster

abracadabra, access, key, password, watchword, abraxas, keyword, opener

Examples from the Web for paternoster

Historical Examples of paternoster

  • Paternoster rises sheer from the water to a height of more than 900 feet.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • I will say my Paternoster in English with anybody, and my Belief too, for that matter.

    In the Days of Drake

    J. S. Fletcher

  • Christians we are,” said Pharaoh, “and will say our Paternoster and Credo with any man.

    In the Days of Drake

    J. S. Fletcher

  • Death gave him time only to recite an Ave Maria, and a Paternoster.

    Italian Popular Tales

    Thomas Frederick Crane

  • Not a thought of prayer, not one paternoster entered his mind.

British Dictionary definitions for paternoster



RC Church the beads at the ends of each decade of the rosary marking the points at which the Paternoster is recited
any fixed form of words used as a prayer or charm
Also called: paternoster line a type of fishing tackle in which short lines and hooks are attached at intervals to the main line
a type of lift in which platforms are attached to continuous chains. The lift does not stop at each floor but passengers enter while it is moving

Word Origin for paternoster

Latin, literally: our father (from the opening of the Lord's Prayer)


noun (sometimes not capital) RC Church

the Lord's Prayer, esp in Latin
the recital of this as an act of devotion

Word Origin for Paternoster

see paternoster
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 paternoster

"the Lord's Prayer," Old English Pater Noster, from Latin pater noster "our father," first words of the Lord's Prayer in Latin. Meaning "set of rosary beads" first recorded mid-13c. Paternoster Row, near St. Paul's in London (similarly named streets are found in other cathedral cities), reflects the once-important industry of rosary bead-making.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper