el·​ee·​mo·​sy·​nary | \ ˌe-li-ˈmä-sə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce eleemosynary (audio) , -ˈmō-; -ˈmä-zə- \

Definition of eleemosynary

: of, relating to, or supported by charity

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Did You Know?

While you may not agree with the grammarian who asserted that "a long and learned word like this should only be used under the stress of great need," you might find that remembering how to spell "eleemosynary" makes you tend to use its synonym "charitable" instead. The good people of early England had mercy on themselves when it came to spelling and shortened the root of "eleemosynary," the Latin eleemosyna, to "ælmes," which they used as their word for "charity." (You may be more familiar with "alms," an "ælmes" derivative that came to denote food or money given to the poor.) The original Latin root was resurrected in the early 17th century to give us the spelling challenge of the adjective we feature today.

Examples of eleemosynary in a Sentence

used his vast fortune for establishing and funding a host of eleemosynary institutions

First Known Use of eleemosynary

circa 1616, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eleemosynary

Medieval Latin eleemosynarius, from Late Latin eleemosyna alms — more at alms

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The first known use of eleemosynary was circa 1616

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Cite this Entry

“Eleemosynary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eleemosynary. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for eleemosynary


elee·​mo·​sy·​nary | \ ˌe-li-ˈmäs-ᵊn-ˌer-ē, -ˈmōs-ᵊn-, -ˈmäz-ᵊn- How to pronounce eleemosynary (audio) \

Legal Definition of eleemosynary

: of, relating to, or supported by charity

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