alms

[ahmz]
noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
money, food, or other donations given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity: The hands of the beggars were outstretched for alms.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English almes, almesse, Old English ælmesse (compare Old Saxon alamōsna, Old High German alamuosa, Dutch aalmoes; Old Spanish almosna) ≪ Late Latin eleēmosyna < Greek eleēmosýnē compassion, alms, derivative of éleos pity. See eleemosynary

alms, arms.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
alms (ɑːmz)
 
pl n
charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy
 
[Old English ælmysse, from Late Latin eleēmosyna, from Greek eleēmosunē pity; see eleemosynary]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

alms
O.E. ælmesse, from P.Gmc. *alemosna, an early borrowing of V.L. *alemosyna, from Church L. eleemosyna (Tertullian, 3c.), from Gk. eleemosyne "pity, mercy," in Ecclesiastical Gk. "charity, alms," from eleemon "compassionate," from eleos "pity, mercy," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative of cries
for alms.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Alms definition


Not found in the Old Testament, but repeatedly in the New. The Mosaic legislation (Lev. 25:35; Deut. 15:7) tended to promote a spirit of charity, and to prevent the occurrence of destitution among the people. Such passages as these, Ps. 41:1; 112:9; Prov. 14:31; Isa. 10:2; Amos 2:7; Jer. 5:28; Ezek. 22:29, would also naturally foster the same benevolent spirit. In the time of our Lord begging was common (Mark 10:46; Acts 3:2). The Pharisees were very ostentatious in their almsgivings (Matt. 6:2). The spirit by which the Christian ought to be actuated in this duty is set forth in 1 John 3:17. A regard to the state of the poor and needy is enjoined as a Christian duty (Luke 3:11; 6:30; Matt. 6:1; Acts 9:36; 10:2, 4), a duty which was not neglected by the early Christians (Luke 14:13; Acts 20:35; Gal. 2:10; Rom. 15:25-27; 1 Cor. 16:1-4). They cared not only for the poor among themselves, but contributed also to the necessities of those at a distance (Acts 11:29; 24:17; 2 Cor. 9:12). Our Lord and his attendants showed an example also in this (John 13:29). In modern times the "poor-laws" have introduced an element which modifies considerably the form in which we may discharge this Christian duty.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Local pastors say inducement could be taken to mean anything, including giving
  alms to the poor.
Each was given an alms bowl with which to beg meals from the local
  community-their only permitted means of obtaining food.
Here they deliver the alms and prayers they have collected during their treks
  to the saint's precinct.
Most of the poorest villagers seem to get alms of some sort.
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