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Alms (&asuml_;mz), n. sing. & pl. [OE. almes, almesse, AS. ælmysse, fr. L. eleemosyna, Gr. 'elehmosy`nh mercy, charity, alms, fr. 'eleei^n to pity. Cf. Almonry, Eleemosynary.] Anything given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing; a gift of charity.
A devout man . . . which gave much alms to the people. Acts x. 2.
Alms are but the vehicles of prayer. Dryden.
Tenure by free alms. See Frankalmoign. Blackstone.
&hand_; This word alms is singular in its form (almesse), and is sometimes so used; as, “asked an alms.” Acts iii. 3. “Received an alms.” Shak. It is now, however, commonly a collective or plural noun. It is much used in composition, as almsgiver, almsgiving, alms bag, alms chest, etc.