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[bree-vee-er-ee, brev-ee-] /ˈbri viˌɛr i, ˈbrɛv i-/
noun, plural breviaries.
Roman Catholic Church. a book containing all the daily psalms, hymns, prayers, lessons, etc., necessary for reciting the office.
a book of daily prayers and readings in some other churches.
1540-50; < Latin breviārium an abridgment. See brevi-, -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for breviary
  • He used to stroll down the alley behind our house, reading his breviary.
  • He changed his new gilt breviary for an old one, and after did so in his habit and other things.
  • Her big pale face had a softly frightened look, and in her hand she carried her neatly kept breviary.
British Dictionary definitions for breviary


noun (pl) -ries
(RC Church) a book of psalms, hymns, prayers, etc, to be recited daily by clerics in major orders and certain members of religious orders as part of the divine office
a similar book in the Orthodox Church
Word Origin
C16: from Latin breviārium an abridged version, from breviāre to shorten, from brevis short
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 breviary

1540s, "brief statement;" sense of "short prayer book used by Catholic priests" is from 1610s, from Latin breviarium "summary," noun use of neuter of adjective breviarius "abridged," from breviare "to shorten, abbreviate," from brevis "short" (see brief (adj.)).

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

liturgical book in the Roman Catholic Church that contains the daily service for the divine office, the official prayer of the church consisting of psalms, readings, and hymns that are recited at stated hours of the day. The breviary (Latin breviarium, "abridgment") as a condensed tome appeared only after the divine office itself was fixed and widely used and after the recitation of the office had come to be regarded as obligatory for individuals not residing in a community

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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