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 blamelessA 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 Inside, church-goers will find a marble altar, a gift from the Catholic church where Barry was an altar boy. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This Stunning 'Tree Church' in New Zealand May Be the Coolest Thing You'll See Today," 27 Sep. 2020 Gentry, who served as an altar boy, remembers a church that drew capacity crowds for Sunday Mass and dedicated teaching nuns who brooked no nonsense. Jonathan M. Pitts,, "A statue of Mary welcomed generations to a Baltimore church and school. Repairing it feels like a gesture of hope.," 4 Sep. 2020 He was charged last year with first-degree rape after a former altar boy told police Brignac had repeatedly raped him beginning in the late 1970s. Washington Post, "Former Atlanta officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks granted bond," 30 June 2020 Weeks later, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced that a former altar boy had accused Drew of raping him on multiple occasions between 1988 and 1991 at St. Jude's in Bridgetown. The Enquirer,, "Cincinnati bishop resigns from leadership post over handling of priest accused of rape," 7 May 2020 Investigators also interviewed four other altar boys who were the accuser's age and served Mass for Perrone. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Catholic church sued in novel lawsuit: Our priest was falsely accused," 13 Feb. 2020 In the world of undercover informants, Kenyel Brown was no altar boy. Tresa Baldas, USA TODAY, "A Michigan judge set him free, then 6 people died. Who's to blame?," 2 Mar. 2020 In the world of undercover informants, Kenyel Brown was no altar boy. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "A judge set him free, then 6 people died. Who's to blame?," 2 Mar. 2020 One who worried about Barboza’s proximity to children in the church, particularly the altar boys with him at Mass, was the first to warn the diocese., "When a Globe reporter told him the name of the former Eagle Scout and the accusations he’d made, Barboza fell silent for a while.," 24 Sep. 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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The first known use of altar boy was in 1772

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Cite this Entry

“Altar boy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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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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