altar

Altar \Al"tar\, n. [OE. alter, auter, autier, fr. L. altare, pl. altaria, altar, prob. fr. altus high: cf. OF. alter, autier, F. autel. Cf. {Altitude}.] 1. A raised structure (as a square or oblong erection of stone or wood) on which sacrifices are offered or incense burned to a deity. [1913 Webster] Noah builded an altar unto the Lord. --Gen. viii. 20. [1913 Webster] 2. In the Christian church, a construction of stone, wood, or other material for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; the communion table. [1913 Webster] Note: Altar is much used adjectively, or as the first part of a compound; as, altar bread or altar-bread. [1913 Webster] {Altar cloth} or {Altar-cloth}, the cover for an altar in a Christian church, usually richly embroidered. {Altar cushion}, a cushion laid upon the altar in a Christian church to support the service book. {Altar frontal}. See {Frontal}. {Altar rail}, the railing in front of the altar or communion table. {Altar screen}, a wall or partition built behind an altar to protect it from approach in the rear. {Altar tomb}, a tomb resembling an altar in shape, etc. {Family altar}, place of family devotions. {To lead (as a bride) to the altar}, to marry; -- said of a woman. [1913 Webster]