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 The movie also starred Humphrey Bogart in the story of a former altar boy gone homicidally wrong. Rick Kogan,, 12 Jan. 2022 Drew was arrested in August 2019 in the case involving the altar boy. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, 2 Dec. 2021 Another advocate for the nones is Kevin Bolling, who grew up in a military family and served as a Roman Catholic altar boy., 14 Dec. 2021 Much like the protagonist Riley Flynn (played by Zach Gilford), Flanagan was raised Catholic and served as an altar boy. Matthew J. Cressler, The Atlantic, 25 Oct. 2021 As an altar boy at Sacred Heart Church, Sullivan would go with the priest to the tobacco fields north of Hartford to celebrate Mass with the workers there, journalist Susan Campbell wrote in a 2018 column for the Courant. Edmund H. Mahony,, 5 Oct. 2021 Riley's younger brother Warren is a playful but kind-hearted teenager who works as an altar boy at the church. Quinci Legardye, Marie Claire, 1 Oct. 2021 The Haunting of Hill House first began thinking about the horror overtones of religion as a 10-year-old altar boy at a Catholic church on New York's Governor's Island. Nick Romano,, 22 Sep. 2021 The local parish was a block away, and Carroll spent many hours there — as an altar boy, in the Boy Scouts, playing sports. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for altar boy

Time Traveler

The first known use of altar boy was in 1772

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Dictionary Entries Near altar boy


altar boy

altar brass

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Statistics for altar boy

Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Altar boy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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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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