an altar attendant in public worship.
Roman Catholic Church.

a member of the highest-ranking of the four minor orders.
the order itself.
Compare (def 2), (def 2), (def 1).

any attendant, assistant, or follower.
Contemporary Examples

Truthiness is as truthiness does, and clearly: acolyte Oren does truthiness very, very well.
Michael Oren’s Truthiness Emily L. Hauser March 5, 2013

Still, the tradition of a hero with a younger, or everyman, acolyte stretches back to antiquity.
Holy Homophobia, Batman! A Queer Reading of the Dark Knight Rich Goldstein July 25, 2014

Instead, he talks about cap-and-trade as if he is Al Gore’s acolyte and Barack Obama’s fellow student.
The Right-Wing Primal Scream John Batchelor October 23, 2008

In the meantime, he serves as an acolyte at Grace Episcopal Church, and has had the honor of carrying the cross.
Message to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: America’s Greater Than Ever Michael Daly August 14, 2012

Turnipseed was an earnest, charismatic liberal who was also a reformed George Wallace acolyte.
Forced Abortions and other South Carolina Dirty Tricks Ben Jacobs January 20, 2012

Historical Examples

They carry copper bassoons ten feet long, so heavy that their bells have to rest on the shoulder of an acolyte.
From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin

I was to wear the red gown and the white cape of an acolyte!
Maurice Tiernay Soldier of Fortune Charles James Lever

From the small door beside the chapel came a priest and his acolyte, a choir boy.
The Mercenary W. J. Eccott

Constans, in his capacity of acolyte, stood on the right of the altar.
The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen

We degrade thee from the order of an acolyte, taking from thee in token thereof this small pitcher and taper staff.
Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages Edward Lewes Cutts

a follower or attendant
(Christianity) an officer who attends or assists a priest

early 14c., “inferior officer in the church,” from Old French acolite or directly from Medieval Latin acolytus (Late Latin acoluthos), from Greek akolouthos “following, attending on,” literally “having one way,” from a- “together with,” copulative prefix, + keleuthose “a way, road, path, track,” from PIE *qeleu- (cf. Lithuanian kelias “way”). In late Old English as a Latin word.

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