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From Middle English sauter, psauter, from Old French sautier, psaltier, from Latin psalterium (a stringed instrument like a lute), from Ancient Greek ψαλτήριον (psaltḗrion, a harp).



psalter (plural psalters)

  1. The Book of Psalms. Often applied to a book containing the Psalms separately printed.
  2. Specifically for Anglicans, the Book of Common Prayer which contains the Book of Psalms. For Catholics, the Breviary containing the Psalms arranged for each day of the week.
  3. In the Roman Catholic Church, a rosary consisting of one hundred and fifty beads, corresponding to the number of the Psalms.
  4. (obsolete or rare) psaltery (the musical instrument).
    • 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.

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