[tab-er-nak-uh l]
See more synonyms for tabernacle on
  1. any place or house of worship, especially one designed for a large congregation.
  2. (often initial capital letter) the portable sanctuary in use by the Israelites from the time of their wandering in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt to the building of the Temple in Jerusalem by Solomon. Ex. 25–27.
  3. Ecclesiastical. an ornamental receptacle for the reserved Eucharist, now generally found on the altar.
  4. a canopied niche or recess, as for an image or icon.
  5. a temporary dwelling or shelter, as a tent or hut.
  6. a dwelling place.
  7. the human body as the temporary abode of the soul.
verb (used with or without object), tab·er·nac·led, tab·er·nac·ling.
  1. to place or dwell in, or as if in, a tabernacle.

Origin of tabernacle

1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin tabernāculum, Latin: tent, equivalent to tabern(a) hut, stall, inn (cf. tavern) + -āculum, probably extracted from hibernāculum winter quarters (see hibernaculum)
Related formstab·er·nac·u·lar [tab-er-nak-yuh-ler] /ˌtæb ərˈnæk yə lər/, adjectiveun·tab·er·nac·led, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tabernacle

niche, sanctuary, shelter, shrine, habitation, temple, tent, reliquary

Examples from the Web for tabernacle

Contemporary Examples of tabernacle

Historical Examples of tabernacle

  • Where were the Tabernacle and the ark of God placed after the land was won?

    Hurlbut's Bible Lessons

    Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

  • The formation of the tabernacle proves that it typifies the mother's womb.

  • But in either case the altar in question is not of the Church but of the Tabernacle.

  • Are we not at the same time the cradle and the tabernacle of that god?

    The Choice of Life

    Georgette Leblanc

  • The stars were shining before they quitted the Arabian tabernacle of Besso.


    Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for tabernacle


  1. (often capital) Old Testament
    1. the portable sanctuary in the form of a tent in which the ancient Israelites carried the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25–27)
    2. the Jewish Temple regarded as the shrine of the divine presence
  2. Judaism an English word for sukkah
  3. a meeting place for worship used by Mormons or Nonconformists
  4. a small ornamented cupboard or box used for the reserved sacrament of the Eucharist
  5. the human body regarded as the temporary dwelling of the soul
  6. mainly RC Church a canopied niche or recess forming the shrine of a statue
  7. nautical a strong framework for holding the foot of a mast stepped on deck, allowing it to be swung down horizontally to pass under low bridges, etc
Derived Formstabernacular, adjective

Word Origin for tabernacle

C13: from Latin tabernāculum a tent, from taberna a hut; see tavern
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 tabernacle

mid-13c., "portable sanctuary carried by the Israelites in the wilderness," from Old French tabernacle (12c.), from Latin tabernaculum "tent," especially "a tent of an augur" (for taking observations), diminutive of taberna "hut, cabin, booth" (see tavern). Transferred late 14c. to the Temple in Jerusalem (which continued its function). Sense of "house of worship" first recorded 1690s. The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (mid-October) was observed as a thanksgiving for harvest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper