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alms

[ahmz] /ɑmz/
noun, (used with a singular or plural verb)
1.
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
1000
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
Can be confused
alms, arms.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for alms
  • 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.
  • alms would be distributed, but they would be coins rather than notes.
  • In the stalled traffic, amputees and wasted little children cried for alms.
  • In many districts the mosque is the seat of the new local council, receiving alms to subsidise its activities.
  • It is better to misplace our charity on nine unworthy persons than to deny alms to one that is really in need.
  • His parents were persons distinguished for their virtue and alms-deeds.
  • He seemed to regard whatever he possessed as the patrimony of the poor, and his alms seemed to exceed all bounds.
British Dictionary definitions for alms

alms

/ɑːmz/
plural noun
1.
charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy
Word Origin
Old English ælmysse, from Late Latin eleēmosyna, from Greek eleēmosunē pity; see eleemosynary
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 alms
n.

Old English ælmesse "alms, almsgiving," from Proto-Germanic *alemosna (cf. Old Saxon alamosna, Old High German alamuosan, Old Norse ölmusa), an early borrowing of Vulgar Latin *alemosyna (source of Old Spanish almosna, Old French almosne, Italian limosina), from Church Latin eleemosyna (Tertullian, 3c.), from Greek eleemosyne "pity, mercy," in Ecclesiastical Greek "charity, alms," from eleemon "compassionate," from eleos "pity, mercy," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative of cries for alms. Spelling perversion in Vulgar Latin is perhaps by influence of alimonia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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alms in the Bible

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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