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
Among the items being documented was a nearly 90-year-old statue of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Grace, which sits at the right side of the altar at St. John the Baptist.
The exact purpose of the sun altar in Xinjiang, however, has yet to be identified.
Prior to the show, Pérez kept the suitcase on an altar of sorts in his bedroom closet.
Each year for the last two decades, local voodoo priest Sallie Ann Glassman has built an altar for St. John's Eve in the lobby of the International House hotel.
The three altars where members of the church stopped and said prayers were prepared by St. Mary's Catholic School, the St. Mary's Art and Environment Commission, and St. Mary's CCW — the woman's group of the parish.
Former altar boys who also testified said the tribunal told them the Vatican hopes to complete the trial as soon as early summer.
The Jaguar’s clean interior aesthetic looks great but sacrifices useful cubby and stowage space on the altar of style.
One factory preserved its mango in formaldehyde, another tried to stem the fruit’s decay by sealing it in wax before placing it on an altar so that factory workers could solemnly file by to pay their respects to this token from on high.
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
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
ALTAR Defined for English Language Learners
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
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
Seen and Heard
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