ALMS, the giving of relief, and the relief given, whether
in goods or money, to the poor, particularly applied to the
charity bestowed under a sense of religious obligation (see
CHARITY AND CHARITIES.) The word in O. Eng. was aelmysse,
and is derived through the Teutonic adaptation (cf. the modern
) of the Latinized form of the Gr. lleemosbne,
compassion or mercy, from ileos,
pity. The English word
"eleemosynary," that which is given in the way of alms,
charitable, gratuitous, derives direct from the Greek. "Alms"
is often, like "riches," wrongly taken as a plural word.
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