Saturday, December 25, 2010


Eleemosynary \el-uh-MOS-uh-ner-ee\ , adjective;
1. Of or for charity; charitable; as, "an eleemosynary institution"
2. Given in charity; having the nature of alms; as, "eleemosynary assistance"
3. Supported by or dependent on charity; as, "the eleemosynary poor"

This word dates to the 1610's from Medieval Latin eleemosynarius ("pertaining to alms"). The Medieval Latin word derives from Late Latin eleemosyna ("alms") which comes from Greek eleemosyne ("pity"). Eleemosyne comes from eleos ("pity, mercy") which is of unknown origin.

The English word alms also comes from Greek eleemosyne like this:
eleemosyne > eleemosyna > *alemosyna > *alemosna > ├Žlmesse
(Greek > Church Latin > Vulgar Latin > Proto-Germanic > Old English)

Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Saturday, December 25
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or 

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