tab·er·na·cle | \ ˈta-bər-ˌna-kəl \

Definition of tabernacle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a house of worship specifically : a large building or tent used for evangelistic services

2 : a receptacle for the consecrated elements of the Eucharist especially : an ornamental locked box used for reserving the Communion hosts

3a often capitalized : a tent sanctuary used by the Israelites during the Exodus

b archaic : a dwelling place

c archaic : a temporary shelter : tent


tabernacled; tabernacling\ˈta-bər-ˌna-k(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of tabernacle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to take up temporary residence especially : to inhabit a physical body

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Other words from tabernacle


tabernacular \ˌta-bər-ˈna-kyə-lər \ adjective

Synonyms for tabernacle

Synonyms: Noun

church, kirk [chiefly Scottish], temple

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Examples of tabernacle in a Sentence


worshippers gathering at the Baptist tabernacle on a bright Sunday morning

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the site of an ancient city on the West Bank, archaeologists are also hunting for evidence of the tabernacle that once housed the Ark of the Covenant. James Rogers, Fox News, "Stunning biblical 'spies' mosaic discovered in Israel," 12 July 2018 Protestant churches accordingly did away with the tabernacle that housed the Eucharist in Catholic churches. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "The Battle Over Who Can Take Communion," 29 June 2018 Ramban understands the Mishkan (tabernacle) as a kind of portable Mt. Sinai. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Jewish Journal, "Sacrifices celebrate our love of God," 19 Mar. 2018 In homage to basketball, Hoosiers have built tabernacles where the Word is fast-break. Fred D. Cavinder, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana gyms are a testament to the state's devotion to basketball," 21 Mar. 2018 The Ryman was founded as a tabernacle, then repurposed as a concert hall, eventually hosting WSM-AM Nashville's Grand Ole Opry for more than 30 years. Tom Roland, Billboard, "Alive And Kickin': Country's Historic Buildings Still Breathe Life Into Business," 3 Nov. 2017 The grove consists of a former summer hotel now rented out for special events, 47 cottages now usually used as weekend getaways, an open-air tabernacle and a series of paths. Jacques Kelly,, "A 150-year-old camp-meeting site provides a summertime sanctuary," 14 July 2017 Frozen Time is a tabernacle too, but one that welcomes the viewer inside. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "Hidden Beneath a Hockey Rink, a Silent Film Treasure Trove," 7 June 2017 A group of Methodists built a tabernacle in Wesleyan Grove for open air revivals, and rows of gingerbread cottages sprang up around it. Ash Carter, Town & Country, "How Oak Bluffs Became a Summer Haven for the African-American Elite," 29 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tabernacle.' 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 tabernacle


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1653, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tabernacle


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin tabernaculum, from Latin, tent, from taberna hut

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Phrases Related to tabernacle

the Tabernacle

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The first known use of tabernacle was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of tabernacle

: a place of worship that is used by some Christian groups

: a box in which the holy bread and wine are kept in a Catholic church

the Tabernacle : a small, movable tent that was used as a place of worship by the ancient Israelites


tab·er·na·cle | \ ˈta-bər-ˌna-kəl \

Kids Definition of tabernacle

1 : a place of worship

2 often capitalized : a tent used as a place of worship by the ancient Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness with Moses

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