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See also: mass, maß, Maß, Mass., and måss


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From Old English masse, messe, Old English mæsse. Late Latin missa, from Latin mittere, missum, to send, dismiss: compare French messe. In the ancient churches, the public services at which the catechumens were permitted to be present were called missa catechumenorum, ending with the reading of the Gospel. Then they were dismissed with these words: "Ite, missa est", the congregation is dismissed. After that the sacrifice proper began. At its close the same words were said to those who remained. So the word gave the name of Mass to the sacrifice in the Catholic Church. Compare Christmas, Lammas, Mess a dish, Missal



Mass (plural Masses)

  1. (Roman Catholic Church) The principal liturgical service of the Church, including a scripture service and a eucharistic service, which includes the consecration and oblation (offering) of the host and wine. One of the seven sacraments.
  2. A similar ceremony offered by a number of Christian sects.
  3. (music) A musical composition set to portions of the Mass.

Derived terms[edit]

  • High Mass, Mass with incense, music, the assistance of a deacon, subdeacon, etc. (obsolescent)
  • Low Mass, Mass which is said by the priest through-out, without music. (obsolescent)
  • Mass bell, the sanctus bell. See Sanctus.
  • Mass book, the sacramentary or Roman Catholic service book.

Related terms[edit]






  1. Switzerland and Liechtenstein standard spelling of Maß.

External links[edit]

  • Mass in Duden online



Etymology 1[edit]

From Latin. Cognate with English mass, German Messe, Danish messe, Dutch mis.


Mass f (plural Massen)

  1. mass (religious service)
  2. Mass (the Eucharist)
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Borrowing from French masse.


Mass f (plural Massen)

  1. mass (great quantity)
  2. paste, dough
  3. (physics) mass, weight
  4. (electronics) earth, ground