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From Middle English tabernacle (14th century), from Old French tabernacle, from Latin tabernāculum (tent, booth, shed), the diminutive of taberna (hut, shed).



tabernacle (plural tabernacles)

  1. Any temporary dwelling; a hut, tent, or booth.
  2. (biblical) The portable tent used before the construction of the temple, where the shekinah (presence of God) was believed to dwell.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Exodus 40:33–38, column 2:
      [] ſo Moſes finiſhed the worke. Then a cloud couered the Tent of the Congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. And Moſes was not able to enter into the Tent of the Congregation, becauſe the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken vp from ouer the Tabernacle, the children of Iſrael went onward in all their iourneys: But if the cloud were not taken vp, then they iourneyed not, till the day that it was taken vp. For the cloud of the Lord was vpon the Tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the ſight of all the houſe of Iſrael, throughout all their iourneys.
  3. (by extension) The Jewish Temple at Jerusalem (as continuing the functions of the earlier tabernacle).
  4. Any portable shrine used in heathen or idolatrous worship.
  5. A sukkah, the booth or 'tabernacle' used during the Jewish Feast of Sukkot.
  6. (Roman Catholicism) A small ornamented cupboard or box used for the reserved sacrament of the Eucharist, normally located in an especially prominent place in a church.
    • 1997, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part II, Section 1183:
      The tabernacle is to be situated "in churches in a most worthy place with the greatest honor." The dignity, placing, and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle should foster adoration before the Lord really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.
  7. (originally Methodism) A temporary place of worship, especially a tent, for a tent meeting, as with a venue for revival meetings.
    • 1927, Sinclair Lewis, chapter 13, in Elmer Gantry[1]:
      It was over these innocent necessary precautions that the local committees always showed their meanness. They liked giving over only one contribution to the evangelist, but they wanted nothing said about it till they themselves had been taken care of--till the rent of the hall or the cost of building a tabernacle, the heat, the lights, the advertising, and other expenses had been paid.
  8. (by extension) Any house of worship, especially a Mormon meetinghouse.
  9. (figuratively) Any abode or dwelling place, or especially the human body as the temporary dwelling place of the soul, or life.
  10. (nautical) A hinged device allowing for the easy folding of a mast 90 degrees from perpendicular, as for transporting the boat on a trailer, or passing under a bridge.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


tabernacle (third-person singular simple present tabernacles, present participle tabernacling, simple past and past participle tabernacled)

  1. (intransitive) To dwell; to abide for a time.




tabernacle m (plural tabernacles)

  1. tabernacle



  1. (Quebec) Alternative form of tabarnak

Further reading[edit]