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From Middle English psauter & sauter, from Old French psautier & saltier, from Latin psalterium (a kind of lute or zither), from Ancient Greek ψαλτήριον (psaltḗrion, harp). Doublet of psalterion, psalterium, and psaltery.





psalter (plural psalters)

  1. (Christianity) Synonym of Psalms, particularly when printed as a separate work from the Bible.
  2. (Catholicism) Synonym of breviary, which arranges the Psalms for devotional recitation.
  3. (Anglicanism) Synonym of Book of Common Prayer, which prominently includes the Psalms.
  4. (Catholicism) A rosary with 150 beads, used for reciting the Psalms in Catholic editions of the Bible.
  5. (obsolete or archaic) Alternative form of psaltery, a kind of zither as well as the King James translation of certain obscure musical terms in the Old Testament.
    • 1635, John Cousturier, The second tome of the Holie Bible, Psalm 32:2, page 66:
      Confesse ye to our Lord on the harpe: on a psalter of ten strings sing to him.
    • 1849, Sir John Graham Dalyell, Musical Memoirs of Scotland, T. Constable, page 206:
      Perhaps the viol d'amour underwent several modifications, as its name was changed to psalter in the belief of its being the ancient instrument so denominated, which is quite different, according to most authorities — not belonging to the fidicinal tribe.
    • 1875, Edward H. Knight, Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary, J. B. Ford and Company, page 1499:
      Some have supposed that the psalter was not in fact an instrument, but that the term was applied merely to harmony produced by the voice in conjunction with instruments.


  • quinquagene (a collection of 50 psalms, typically with commentary)