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Ember day

noun
1.
any of the days in the quarterly three-day period of prayer and fasting (the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent, after Whitsunday, after Sept. 14, and after Dec. 13) observed in the Roman Catholic Church and other Western churches.
Origin
1050
before 1050; Middle English ymber day, Old English ymbrendæg, plural -dagas, equivalent to ymbryne recurrence (ymb(e) around + ryne a running) + dæg day
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ember days

Ember days

plural noun
1.
(RC Church, Anglican Church) any of four groups of three days (always Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) of prayer and fasting, the groups occurring after Pentecost, after the first Sunday of Lent, after the feast of St Lucy (Dec 13), and after the feast of the Holy Cross (Sept 14)
Word Origin
Old English ymbrendǣg, from ymbren, perhaps from ymbryne a (recurring) period, from ymb around + ryne a course + dǣg day
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for ember days
n.

Old English Ymbrendaeg, Ymbren, 12 days of the year (divided into four seasonal periods, hence Latin name quatuor tempora) set aside by the Church for fasting and prayers, from Old English ymbren "recurring," corruption of ymbryne "a circuit, revolution, course, anniversary," literally "a running around," from ymb "round" (cognate with Greek amphi, Latin ambo; see ambi-) + ryne "course, running" (see run (n.)). Perhaps influenced by a corruption of the Latin name (cf. German quatember).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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