Agnus Dei

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See also: agnus dei and agnus Dei



Borrowed from Latin Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).


  • IPA(key): /ˌæɡnəs ˈdeɪ.i/, /ˌɑːnjus ˈdeɪ.i/


Agnus Dei (plural Agnus Deis or Agnus Dei)

  1. (Western Christianity) A liturgical chant recited as part of the Mass, beginning with those words, or the music to which it is set. [from 10th c.]
  2. (Roman Catholicism, heraldry) A small model, picture, or heraldic representation of a lamb with a cross and sometimes a flag (usually white with a red cross).
  3. (Roman Catholicism) A bar of wax imprinted with a similar shape and blessed by the Pope. [from 16th c.]
    • 1796, Matthew Lewis, The Monk, Folio Society 1985, p. 194:
      Matilda continued her incantations; at intervals she took various items from the basket, the nature and name of most of which were unknown to the friar: but among the few which he distinguished, he particularly observed three human fingers, and an agnus dei, which she broke in pieces.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 28:
      The most common of these amulets was the agnus dei, a small wax cake, originally made out of paschal candles and blessed by the Pope, bearing the image of the lamb and flag.


See also[edit]




Calque of Ancient Greek Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ (Amnòs toû Theoû). The name refers to Jesus' role as a sacrificial lamb that is (voluntarily) slaughtered on the Cross.



Agnus Deī m sg (genitive Agnī Deī); second declension (Christianity, Ecclesiastical Latin)

  1. Literally, "Lamb of God", a title applied by Christians to Jesus, whose death they equate with the offering of such animals for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem by those who have sinned, as described in the Hebrew scriptures.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi...
    Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world...
  2. prayer in the Mass, and musical composition of that prayer, which begins with the words "Agnus Dei...."


Second-declension noun with an indeclinable portion, singular only.

Case Singular
Nominative Agnus Deī
Genitive Agnī Deī
Dative Agnō Deī
Accusative Agnum Deī
Ablative Agnō Deī
Vocative Agne Deī

Note: The vocative is normally Agnus Dei.