money, food, or other donations given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity:
The hands of the beggars were outstretched for alms.
Contemporary Examples

Another piece might cause people to come up short is an elaborate green Burmese Buddhist alms bowl on a stand covered in gold.
Hello, ‘Gorgeous’: Grit and Glamour In San Francisco Emily Wilson June 19, 2014

Historical Examples

What the Puerto Ricans want is not alms, but commercial liberty.
Appletons’ Popular Science Monthly, May, 1900 Various

He was in rags, and carried the usual beggar’s wallet for food or alms.
Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis

Some one gave Pambo gold to distribute in alms, and told him to count it.
Curiosities of Christian History Croake James

Aye, aye, it’s easy to steal the goose and give the giblets in alms.
The Christian Hall Caine

I am a miserable wretch, and starving; give me an alms out of your booty!
The Bravo of Venice Heinrich Zschokke

Then they wished to know if alms should be given in his name?
The Phantom World Augustin Calmet

In the next act there is a scene for Fides in the streets of Mnster, in which, reduced to penury, she begs for alms.
The Complete Opera Book Gustav Kobb

I advise you to give him an alms once more, and you will have done with him.
The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

The little donkey-boy, lolling down the road, started to follow him, crying out for alms in the name of Allah.
The Palace of Darkened Windows Mary Hastings Bradley

plural noun
charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy

Old English ælmesse “alms, almsgiving,” from Proto-Germanic *alemosna (cf. Old Saxon alamosna, Old High German alamuosan, Old Norse ölmusa), an early borrowing of Vulgar Latin *alemosyna (source of Old Spanish almosna, Old French almosne, Italian limosina), from Church Latin eleemosyna (Tertullian, 3c.), from Greek eleemosyne “pity, mercy,” in Ecclesiastical Greek “charity, alms,” from eleemon “compassionate,” from eleos “pity, mercy,” of unknown origin, perhaps imitative of cries for alms. Spelling perversion in Vulgar Latin is perhaps by influence of alimonia.

Not found in the Old Testament, but repeatedly in the New. The Mosaic legislation (Lev. 25:35; Deut. 15:7) tended to promote a spirit of charity, and to prevent the occurrence of destitution among the people. Such passages as these, Ps. 41:1; 112:9; Prov. 14:31; Isa. 10:2; Amos 2:7; Jer. 5:28; Ezek. 22:29, would also naturally foster the same benevolent spirit. In the time of our Lord begging was common (Mark 10:46; Acts 3:2). The Pharisees were very ostentatious in their almsgivings (Matt. 6:2). The spirit by which the Christian ought to be actuated in this duty is set forth in 1 John 3:17. A regard to the state of the poor and needy is enjoined as a Christian duty (Luke 3:11; 6:30; Matt. 6:1; Acts 9:36; 10:2, 4), a duty which was not neglected by the early Christians (Luke 14:13; Acts 20:35; Gal. 2:10; Rom. 15:25-27; 1 Cor. 16:1-4). They cared not only for the poor among themselves, but contributed also to the necessities of those at a distance (Acts 11:29; 24:17; 2 Cor. 9:12). Our Lord and his attendants showed an example also in this (John 13:29). In modern times the “poor-laws” have introduced an element which modifies considerably the form in which we may discharge this Christian duty.

Read Also:

  • Almsgiver

    a person who gives alms. Historical Examples She does evil with the easy, graceful air of an almsgiver distributing charity, and she does good with the stealth of a criminal! The Son of Clemenceau Alexandre (fils) Dumas There was once a lady, and there never was such an almsgiver as she was. Legends of Saints […]

  • Almshouse

    a house endowed by private charity for the reception and support of the aged or infirm poor. (formerly) a poorhouse. Historical Examples It is not fitting that while I am possessed of abundant means you should longer remain the tenant of an almshouse. Paul Prescott’s Charge Horatio Alger A few years later Charterhouse was converted […]

  • Almsman

    a person supported by or receiving alms. Archaic. a person who gives alms. noun (pl) -men (archaic) a person who gives or receives alms

  • Almswoman

    a supported by . Archaic. a who gives . noun (pl) -women (archaic) a woman who gives or receives alms

  • Almsgiving

    a person who gives alms. Historical Examples Let us take boldly the passage from St. Thomas in which he lays down the law of almsgiving. Mediaeval Socialism Bede Jarrett The principle is applied in succession to almsgiving, to Prayer, to Fasting. Expositor’s Bible: The Gospel of Matthew John Monro Gibson This word represents the charity […]

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