(initial capital letter) the evening star, especially Venus; Hesper.
Also called vesper bell. a bell rung at evening.
vespers, (sometimes initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical.
a religious service in the late afternoon or the evening.
the sixth of the seven canonical hours, or the service for it, occurring in the late afternoon or the evening.
Roman Catholic Church. a part of the office to be said in the evening by those in major orders, frequently made a public ceremony in the afternoons or evenings of Sundays and holy days.
Archaic. evening.
of, pertaining to, appearing in, or proper to the evening.
of or pertaining to vespers.

1350–1400; Middle English, partly < Latin: evening, evening star; partly < Old French vespres evening service < Medieval Latin vesperās, accusative plural of Latin vespera, feminine variant of vesper; cognate with Greek hésperos; akin to west Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To vespers
World English Dictionary
vesper (ˈvɛspə)
1.  an evening prayer, service, or hymn
2.  an archaic word for evening
3.  (modifier) of or relating to vespers
[C14: from Latin: evening, the evening star; compare Greek hesperos evening; see west]

Vesper (ˈvɛspə)
the planet Venus, when appearing as the evening star

vespers (ˈvɛspəz)
1.  chiefly RC Church the sixth of the seven canonical hours of the divine office, originally fixed for the early evening and now often made a public service on Sundays and major feast days
2.  another word for evensong

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

late 14c., "the evening star," from O.Fr. vespre, from L. vesper (masc.), vespera (fem.) "evening star, evening, west," related to Gk. hesperos, and ultimately from PIE *wespero- (cf. O.C.S. večeru, Lith. vakaras, Welsh ucher, O.Ir. fescor "evening"), from base *we- "down" (cf. Skt. avah "down,
downward"). Meaning "evening" is attested from c.1600. Vespers "sixth canonical hour" is attested from 1610s, from pl. of L. vespera "evening;" the native name was evensong (O.E. æfen-sang). Hence also vespertine "of or pertaining to evening" (c.1500).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


evening prayer of thanksgiving and praise in Roman Catholic and certain other Christian liturgy. Vespers and lauds (morning prayer) are the oldest and most important of the traditional liturgy of the hours. Many scholars believe vespers is based on Judaic forms of prayer and point to a daily evening celebration observed among Jews in the first century before Christ.

Learn more about vespers with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
About one hundred persons will be con firmed and services will commence with solemn vespers at seven o'clock.
Vespers refers to prayers generally said in the evening, without the eucharist.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature