\ˈä(l)mz \
plural alms

Definition of alms 

1 : something (such as money or food) given freely to relieve the poor distributing alms to the needy

2 archaic : charity

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Other Words from alms

almsgiver \-ˌgi-vər \ noun
almsgiving \-ˌgi-viŋ \ noun

Examples of alms in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

By his lights gestures and ceremonies can have value in disciplining oneself, but charity toward one’s neighbor, of which giving of alms is only one expression, is free and Christian when it is done without thought for one’s own benefit. Marilynne Robinson, New Republic, "The Luther Legend," 12 Dec. 2017 What in Europe had been a discreet offering with alms boxes kept at the back of the church (alms for the poor) became a central ritual activity in America. James Hudnut-beumler, Washington Post, "Why cash remains sacred in American churches," 6 July 2017 Offering the annual charity of the alms (2.5% of all savings) Kurt Snibbe, Orange County Register, "A look at the world’s new tool to combat extremism," 26 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alms.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alms

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for alms

Middle English almesse, almes, from Old English ælmesse, ælmes, from Late Latin eleemosyna alms, from Greek eleēmosynē pity, alms, from eleēmōn merciful, from eleos pity

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Time Traveler for alms

The first known use of alms was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for alms



English Language Learners Definition of alms

: money, clothes, food, and other things given to poor people


\ˈämz, ˈälmz\
plural alms

Kids Definition of alms

: money given to help the poor : charity

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