altar boy

noun

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

In January 2010, Thomas, a Savannah native who served as an altar boy in the building, attended the center’s dedication. Charlotte West, Teen Vogue, "SCAD Building Named After Clarence Thomas Sparks Opposing Petitions," 22 Oct. 2018 Noaker said his client was a New York teen who was an altar boy. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Vatican removes cardinal from ministry after investigating 'credible' claim of sexual abuse," 21 June 2018 An altar boy testified at Wilson’s trial that in the mid-1970s, the then-priest refused to believe the boy’s allegations of abuse made in the confessional. Rod Mcguirk, USA TODAY, "Australian archbishop steps down after cover-up conviction," 23 May 2018 An altar boy testified at Wilson’s trial that in the mid-1970s, the then-priest refused to believe the boy’s allegations of abuse made in the confessional. Rod Mcguirk, BostonGlobe.com, "Australian archbishop steps down after cover-up conviction," 23 May 2018 A few months later, after speaking with Denton and former altar boys Quintanilla and Sondia, blogger Rohr put out a call for anyone who had been abused by a priest to contact him. Pacific Daily News, "Guam archbishop guilty of sexual abuse, exiled from island, Vatican tribunal rules," 16 Mar. 2018 After former altar boys tearfully went public with allegations, a law was passed to open doors for lawsuits against the church, clergy and others. Jerod Macdonald-evoy, azcentral, "Father Adrian Cristobal, accused of sex abuse in Guam, is missing after leaving Phoenix," 15 June 2018 As a senior altar boy, Sowell helped Faucher with masses throughout the week, including weddings and funerals. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Father Faucher's fall from grace: Once a respected priest, now he holds Mass in jail," 4 June 2018 At that time on Guam, the church required altar boys to join the Boy Scouts. USA TODAY, "Priest accused in 124 Guam sex abuse cases ages quietly, alone," 5 May 2018

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

14 Nov 2018

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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

noun

English Language Learners Definition of altar boy

: a boy who helps the priest during a Catholic service

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