Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

altar

play
noun, often attributive al·tar \ˈȯl-tər\

Simple Definition of altar

  • : a raised place on which sacrifices and gifts are offered in some religions

  • : a platform or table used as a center of worship in Christian ceremonies and services

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of altar

  1. 1 :  a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship —often used figuratively to describe a thing given great or undue precedence or value especially at the cost of something else <sacrificed his family life on the altar of career advancement>

  2. 2 :  a table on which the eucharistic elements are consecrated or which serves as a center of worship or ritual

Origin of altar

Middle English alter, from Old English altar, from Latin altare; probably akin to Latin adolēre to burn up


First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Christian Religious Terms

Rhymes with altar



ALTAR Defined for Kids

altar

play
noun al·tar \ˈȯl-tər\

Definition of altar for Students

  1. 1 :  a platform or table used as a center of worship

  2. 2 :  a usually raised place on which sacrifices are offered





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up altar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by grandiloquent style

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove reduce perplex soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ