bre·​via·​ry | \ ˈbrē-və-rē How to pronounce breviary (audio) , -vyə-, -vē-ˌer-ē, -ˌe-rē also ˈbre- \
plural breviaries

Definition of breviary

1 often capitalized
a : a book of the prayers, hymns, psalms, and readings for the canonical hours
2 [Latin breviarium] : a brief summary

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of breviary in a Sentence

a speech that could serve as a breviary for impeachment
Recent Examples on the Web Books of Hours are breviaries, or a selection of prayers and psalms taken from long prayer books used by monks. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The Winter Show’s Many Small Treasures," 28 Jan. 2020 In the breviary-like Logia of Yeshua, Davenport and his coauthor, Benjamin Urrutia, assembled everything reportedly spoken by Jesus. Michael Dirda, National Review, "The Exhilarating Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breviary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of breviary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for breviary

Middle English breviarie, from Medieval Latin breviarium, from Latin, summary, from brevis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about breviary

Time Traveler for breviary

Time Traveler

The first known use of breviary was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for breviary

Cite this Entry

“Breviary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on breviary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breviary Encyclopedia article about breviary

Comments on breviary

What made you want to look up breviary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!