[vahy-at-i-kuh m, vee-]

noun, plural vi·at·i·ca [vahy-at-i-kuh, vee-] /vaɪˈæt ɪ kə, vi-/, vi·at·i·cums.

Ecclesiastical. the Eucharist or Communion as given to a person dying or in danger of death.
(among the ancient Romans) a provision or allowance for traveling, originally of transportation and supplies, later of money, made to officials on public missions.
money or necessities for any journey.

Origin of viaticum

1555–65; < Latin viāticum, neuter of viāticus, equivalent to viāt(us) (past participle of viāre to travel; see via, -ate1) + -icus -ic; cf. voyage Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for viaticum

obsequies, exequies

Examples from the Web for viaticum

Historical Examples of viaticum

  • For it was just about this time that the Viaticum must have been administered to his father.


    Beatrice Fortescue

  • If they refused the viaticum they were treated as "damned persons."

  • Having inquired into my resources, he said, “You must take the viaticum.”

    A Tramp's Wallet

    William Duthie

  • The priest said this was impossible as he was not provided with the wherewithal for giving the viaticum.

    Human Animals

    Frank Hamel

  • It is Wallenstein's chance now, and for me nothing but the priest's viaticum.

    The Mercenary

    W. J. Eccott

British Dictionary definitions for viaticum


noun plural -ca (-kə) or -cums

Christianity Holy Communion as administered to a person dying or in danger of death
rare provisions or a travel allowance for a journey

Word Origin for viaticum

C16: from Latin, from viāticus belonging to a journey, from viāre to travel, from via way
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 viaticum

1560s, from Latin viaticum "travelling money; provision for a journey," from via "way" (see via).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper