holy water

water blessed by a priest.
[bef. 900; ME haliwater, OE haligwaeter]

* * *

      in the Eastern Christian churches and the Roman Catholic Church, special water that has been blessed and is used to bless churches, homes, and articles of devotion. A natural symbol of purification, water has been used by religious peoples, both primitive and advanced, as a means of removing uncleanness, either ritual or moral.

      In the early Christian community the “living” water of rivers and streams was preferred for Baptism and apparently received no special blessing. By the time of the 4th century the still waters of the baptismal font or pool were exorcised and blessed with the sign of the cross. Other water was blessed for the use of the faithful as a means of warding off the unclean spirit and as a safeguard against sickness and disease. In the course of time, this blessed, or holy, water was used as a reminder of Baptism by the faithful on entering the church and by the celebrant in sprinkling the congregation before the Sunday mass.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holy Water — • In the earliest Christian times, water was used for expiatory and purificatory purposes, to a way analogous to its employment under the Jewish Law Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Holy Water     Holy Water …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Holy water — Holy Ho ly, a. [Compar. {Holier}; superl. {Holiest}.] [OE. holi, hali, AS. h[=a]lig, fr. h[ae]l health, salvation, happiness, fr. h[=a]l whole, well; akin to OS. h?lag, D. & G. heilig, OHG. heilac, Dan. hellig, Sw. helig, Icel. heilagr. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Water — can also refer to water that has been blessed, such as by a priest, and is considered holy. See holy water . For the song of the same name by Big Rich, see Holy Water (song).Infobox Album | Name = Holy Water Type = Album Artist = Bad Company… …   Wikipedia

  • holy water — n [U] water that has been ↑blessed by a priest …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • holy water — holy ,water noun uncount water that a priest has BLESSED …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • holy water — ► NOUN ▪ water blessed by a priest and used in religious ceremonies …   English terms dictionary

  • holy water — n. R.C.Ch. water blessed by a priest and used (as in the Asperges) as a sacramental …   English World dictionary

  • Holy water — In Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Oriental Orthodoxy and some other churches, holy water is water which has been sanctified by a priest or bishop for the purpose of baptism or for the blessing of… …   Wikipedia

  • holy water — n. to sprinkle holy water * * * to sprinkle holy water …   Combinatory dictionary

  • holy water — water blessed by a priest …   English contemporary dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.