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acolyte

[ak-uh-lahyt] /ˈæk əˌlaɪt/
noun
1.
an altar attendant in public worship.
2.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. a member of the highest-ranking of the four minor orders.
  2. the order itself.
    Compare exorcist (def 2), lector (def 2), ostiary (def 1).
3.
any attendant, assistant, or follower.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English acolite < Medieval Latin acolytus < Greek akólouthos follower, attendant, equivalent to a- prefix denoting association + -kolouthos, variant of kéleuthos road, journey
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for acolyte
  • He had served as an acolyte and dreamed of becoming a teacher or lawyer.
  • Well, let's have them take a third---a particularly odd new hire who is their acolyte.
  • He quickly morphed from wide-eyed acolyte into colleague and drinking buddy.
  • But ask a free market acolyte why this is, and they'll point to lack of skills and initiative to explain away the unemployed.
  • Evidence and argumentation are unnecessary, and anyone who doesn't agree with me is an unthinking acolyte.
  • But of course if such a relationship frequently reveals pain, a zealous acolyte of sweetness might prefer not to shed light on it.
  • If she ultimately lacks their individuality, she comes off as an enthusiastic acolyte.
British Dictionary definitions for acolyte

acolyte

/ˈækəˌlaɪt/
noun
1.
a follower or attendant
2.
(Christianity) an officer who attends or assists a priest
Word Origin
C16: via Old French and Medieval Latin from Greek akolouthos a follower
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acolyte
n.

early 14c., "inferior officer in the church," from Old French acolite or directly from Medieval Latin acolytus (Late Latin acoluthos), from Greek akolouthos "following, attending on," literally "having one way," from a- "together with," copulative prefix, + keleuthose "a way, road, path, track," from PIE *qeleu- (cf. Lithuanian kelias "way"). In late Old English as a Latin word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for acolyte

(from Greek akolouthos, "server," "companion," or "follower"), in the Roman Catholic church, a person is installed in a ministry in order to assist the deacon and priest in liturgical celebrations, especially the eucharistic liturgy. The first probable reference to the office dates from the time of Pope Victor I (189-199), and it was mentioned frequently in Roman documents after the 4th century. Acolytes also existed in North Africa but were unknown outside Rome and North Africa until the 10th century, when they were introduced throughout the Western Church. The Council of Trent (1545-63) defined the order and hoped to reactivate it on the pastoral level, but it became only a preparatory rite, or minor order, leading to the priesthood. A directive of Pope Paul VI (effective Jan. 1, 1973) decreed that the office of acolyte should no longer be called a minor order but a ministry and that it should be open to laymen.

Learn more about acolyte with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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