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c.1400, from Latin benedictionem (nominative benedictio), noun of action from bene dicere "to speak well of, bless," from bene "well" (see bene-) + dicere "to speak" (see diction). The oldest sense in English is of grace before meat. The older French form, beneiçon passed into Middle English as benison.
a verbal blessing of persons or things, commonly applied to invocations pronounced in God's name by a priest or minister, usually at the conclusion of a religious service. The Aaronic benediction (Num. 6:24-26) was incorporated by Luther into his German Mass and is preserved by modern Lutherans because of its impressive dignity; it is also used in the Mozarabic liturgy of Spain before the reception of the Host. The Swedish liturgy appends a trinitarian formula to this same benediction. Some Christian churches, however, prefer the Pauline benediction (II Cor. 13:14).