altar slab

altar stone

noun
Also called altar slab.


Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English awterston

Dictionary.com Unabridged

mensa

[men-suh]
noun, plural mensas, mensae [men-see] , for 1, genitive mensae for 2.
1.
Also called altar slab, altar stone. the flat stone forming the top of the altar in a Roman Catholic church.
2.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Table, a southern constellation near Octans.

Origin:
1685–95; < Latin mēnsa table

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Mensa1 (ˈmɛnsə)
 
n , Latin genitive Mensae
a faint constellation in the S hemisphere lying between Hydrus and Volans and containing part of the Large Magellanic Cloud
 
[Latin, literally: the table]

Mensa2 (ˈmɛnsə)
 
n
an international society, membership of which is restricted to people whose intelligence test scores exceed those expected of 98 per cent of the population

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Word Origin & History

mensa
"altar top," 1848, from L., lit. "table," hence used in Church L. for "upper slab of an altar." With a capital M-, the name of an organization for people of IQs of 148 or more founded in England in 1946, the name chosen, according to the organization, to suggest a "round table" type group.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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