altar

noun, often attributive al·tar \ ˈȯl-tər \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of altar

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

Recent Examples of altar from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of altar

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

Other Christian Religious Terms



ALTAR Defined for English Language Learners

altar

noun

Definition of altar for English Language Learners

  • : 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


ALTAR Defined for Kids

altar

noun al·tar \ ˈȯl-tər \

Definition of altar for Students

1 : a platform or table used as a center of worship
2 : a usually raised place on which sacrifices are offered


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