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vestal virgin

noun
1.
(in ancient Rome) one of four, later six, virgins consecrated to Vesta and to the tending of the sacred fire on her altar.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for vestal virgins

vestal virgin

noun
1.
(in ancient Rome) one of the four, later six, virgin priestesses whose lives were dedicated to Vesta and to maintaining the sacred fire in her temple
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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vestal virgins in Culture

vestal virgins definition


Women in ancient Rome who took vows of chastity and tended the sacred flame in the temple of the goddess Vesta. Their group numbered six at any one time. A vestal virgin could marry after her term of service was over, but to do so was considered bad luck. A vestal virgin who lost her virginity during her term of service was punished by being buried alive.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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