altar boy


Definition of altar boy

1 : a boy who assists the celebrant in a liturgical service
2 chiefly US : a morally pure and virtuous person No one expects … the trendsetter and party animal to become an altar boy.— Johnnie L. Roberts typically used in negative constructions to describe a man whose behavior is not entirely admirable or blameless A long time ago she married a man who turns out, by his own admission, to be somewhat dishonest—not a killer, not a dope peddler, but no altar boy, either.— Richard Cohen

Examples of altar boy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For parents, having a church also meant their sons could earn a little money by serving as altar boys. Washington Post, "Ex-clergyman says US priest in Philippines a known pedophile," 10 Sep. 2019 The rape accusations arose a few weeks later when the former altar boy contacted Hamilton County prosecutors. Dan Horn,, "Priest's accuser urges others to speak out: 'You are not alone'," 5 Sep. 2019 Most of the eight had served as altar boys, Janci said., "Archdiocese of Portland to pay nearly $4 million to settle sex abuse claims by 8 men against Oregon priest," 1 Aug. 2019 Formative years included daily activities at the North End Boys and Girls Club, serving as altar boy at St. Augustine Cathedral, and caddying from the age of 9 at Brooklawn Country Club where Raymond was also a lifeguard., "Raymond R. Norko," 1 Sep. 2019 The Jonathan Glazer film was booed by critics at its 2004 Venice premiere, but one can offer nothing but high praise for Kidman’s ability to pull off altar boy hair. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "A brief history of Nicole Kidman’s iconic wigs," 22 Aug. 2019 One graduated from grade school there in 1956 and served as an altar boy., "Reverence and resistance in one of Portland’s oldest Catholic churches," 11 Aug. 2019 Denton confided in an older altar boy, who said Apuron had abused him too. Washington Post, "Guam’s ex-archbishop shielded culture of clergy sex abuse," 10 Aug. 2019 As a child, Dwight learned Latin and served as an altar boy at his local Catholic parish. Emily Ludolph, New York Times, "Ed Dwight Was Set to Be the First Black Astronaut. Here’s Why That Never Happened.," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'altar boy.' 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 altar boy

1772, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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The first known use of altar boy was in 1772

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More Definitions for altar boy

altar boy


English Language Learners Definition of altar boy

: a boy who helps the priest during a Catholic service

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