alms

Alms \Alms\ ([add]mz), n. sing. & pl. [OE. almes, almesse, AS. [ae]lmysse, fr. L. eleemosyna, Gr. 'elehmosy`nh mercy, charity, alms, fr. 'eleei^n to pity. Cf. {Almonry}, {Eleemosynary}.] Anything given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing; a gift of charity. [1913 Webster] A devout man . . . which gave much alms to the people. --Acts x. 2. [1913 Webster] Alms are but the vehicles of prayer. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] {Tenure by free alms}. See {Frankalmoign}. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster] Note: This word alms is singular in its form (almesse), and is sometimes so used; as, ``asked an alms.'' --Acts iii. 3. ``Received an alms.'' --Shak. It is now, however, commonly a collective or plural noun. It is much used in composition, as almsgiver, almsgiving, alms bag, alms chest, etc. [1913 Webster]