benediction

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See also: bénédiction

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Ecclesiastical Latin benedictio, benedictionis, from benedictus (blessed; well spoken of). Doublet of benison.

Noun[edit]

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benediction (countable and uncountable, plural benedictions)

  1. A short invocation for help, blessing and guidance from God, said on behalf of another person or persons (sometimes at the end of a church worship service).
    to pronounce / give / say the benediction; the nuptial benediction; a parting benediction
    Synonym: blessing
    • c. 1605, William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene 7,[1]
      O, look upon me, sir,
      And hold your hands in benediction o’er me.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 7, lines 1281-1282,[2]
      So saying, he [the angel] arose; whom Adam thus
      Follow’d with benediction.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, London: for the author, Volume 4, Letter 50, p. 290,[3]
      My pen (its last scrawl a benediction on my beloved) dropt from my fingers;
    • 1876, George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Book 4, Chapter 34,[4]
      Cohen kept on his own hat, and took no notice of the visitor, but stood still while the two children went up to him and clasped his knees: then he laid his hands on each in turn and uttered his Hebrew benediction; whereupon the wife, who had lately taken baby from the cradle, brought it up to her husband and held it under his outstretched hands, to be blessed in its sleep.
    • 1961, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas, Penguin, 1992, Part 2, Chapter 6, p. 537,[5]
      Long brahminical hairs sprouted out of his ears, and he drew further attention to himself by closing his eyes, neatly shaking away tears, putting a hand on Owad’s head and speaking a Hindi benediction.
  2. In the Anglican church, the ceremony used to institute an abbot, analogous to the consecration of a bishop.
    • 1726, John Ayliffe, Parergon juris canonici anglicani: or, A commentary, by way of supplement to the canons and constitutions of the Church of England, London: for the author, “Of Abbots, Priors, Abbies, Priories, &c.,” p. 13,[6]
      What Consecration is to a Bishop, that Benediction is to an Abbot; but in a different way: For a Bishop is not properly such till Consecration; but an Abbot being elected and confirm’d, is properly such before Benediction.
  3. A Roman Catholic rite by which bells, banners, candles, etc., are blessed with holy water and formally dedicated to God.
    • 1945, Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, London: Chapman & Hall, 1949, Book 1, Chapter 5, p. 98,[7]
      [] [he] later liked to attend benediction in the chapel at Brideshead and see the ladies of the family with their necks arched in devotion under their black lace mantillas;
  4. Help, good fortune or reward from God or another supernatural source.
    Synonyms: blessing, grace

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