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

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

Learn More About eleemosynary

Time Traveler for eleemosynary

Time Traveler

The first known use of eleemosynary was circa 1616

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About eleemosynary

Dictionary Entries Near eleemosynary



eleemosynary corporation

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for eleemosynary

Cite this Entry

“Eleemosynary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eleemosynary. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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