See also: bénédiction





From Middle English benediccion, from Ecclesiastical Latin benedictio, benedictionis, from benedictus (blessed; well spoken of). Doublet of benison.




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benediction (countable and uncountable, plural benedictions)

  1. A short invocation for help, blessing and guidance from God, said on behalf of another person or persons (sometimes at the end of a church worship service).
    Synonym: blessing
    to pronounce / give / say the benediction; the nuptial benediction; a parting benediction
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene vii]:
      O, look upon me, sir,
      And hold your hands in benediction o’er me.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VII”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker []; [a]nd by Robert Boulter []; [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 1281-1282:
      So saying, he [the angel] arose; whom Adam thus
      Follow’d with benediction.
    • 1748, [Samuel Richardson], chapter 50, in Clarissa. Or, The History of a Young Lady: [], volume IV, London: [] S[amuel] Richardson;  [], →OCLC, page 290:
      My pen (its last scrawl a benediction on my beloved) dropt from my fingers;
    • 1876, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], chapter XXXIV, in Daniel Deronda, volume II, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, →OCLC, book IV (Gwendolen Gets Her Choice), page 354:
      Cohen kept on his own hat, and took no notice of the visitor, but stood still while the two children went up to him and clasped his knees: then he laid his hands on each in turn and uttered his Hebrew benediction; whereupon the wife, who had lately taken baby from the cradle, brought it up to her husband and held it under his outstretched hands, to be blessed in its sleep.
    • 1961, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas[1], Penguin, published 1992, Part 2, Chapter 6, p. 537:
      Long brahminical hairs sprouted out of his ears, and he drew further attention to himself by closing his eyes, neatly shaking away tears, putting a hand on Owad’s head and speaking a Hindi benediction.
  2. In the Anglican church, the ceremony used to institute an abbot, analogous to the consecration of a bishop.
    • 1726, John Ayliffe, “Of Abbots, Priors, Abbies, Priories, &c.”, in Parergon juris canonici anglicani: or, A commentary, by way of supplement to the canons and constitutions of the Church of England[2], London: for the author, page 13:
      What Consecration is to a Bishop, that Benediction is to an Abbot; but in a different way: For a Bishop is not properly such till Consecration; but an Abbot being elected and confirm’d, is properly such before Benediction.
  3. A Roman Catholic rite by which bells, banners, candles, etc., are blessed with holy water and formally dedicated to God.
    • 1945, Evelyn Waugh, chapter 5, in Brideshead Revisited [], 3rd edition, London: Chapman & Hall, →OCLC, book 1 (Et in Arcadia Ego), page 98:
      [He] later liked to attend benediction in the chapel at Brideshead and see the ladies of the family with their necks arched in devotion under their black lace mantillas; [...]
  4. Help, good fortune or reward from God or another supernatural source.
    Synonyms: blessing, grace