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Culture > Religion > Props and Symbols

Now updated for CSW19. New words, if any, and new inflections of existing words, are shown in red.

ampul ampulla a vessel for holy oil or wine for coronations or rituals. The pl. of AMPULLA is AMPULLAE.
ampullar ampullary resembling an AMPULLA. Also AMPULLAR.
amreeta amrit amrita a sacred sweetened water used in the Sikh baptismal ceremony.
ankh an Egyptian symbol of life, resembling a looped cross, later adapted by Coptic Christians as their cross.
antidoron the unconsecrated bread remaining after the Eucharistic Liturgy, blessed by the priests and given to non-communicants as well as communicants > ANTIDORA.
aquamanale aquamanile a basin used by the priest for handwashing during the celebration of Mass.
asperger a vessel for sprinkling holy water.
aspergill a brush-like implement used to sprinkle holy water.
aspergillum an ASPERGER, a vessel for sprinkling holy water > ASPERGILLUMS or ASPERGILLA.
aspersoir an ASPERGILL, a brush-like implement used to sprinkle holy water.
aspersorium a basin for holy water > ASPERSORIUMS or ASPERSORIA.
aspersory a vessel for holding holy water.
athame a knife used in wicca ritual.
aura a supposed subtle emanation from living things > AURAE or AURAS.
aureola a crown or increment to the ordinary blessedness of heaven, represented as a gold or coloured disc > AUREOLAE or AUREOLAS.
aureole an AUREOLA.
aureoled having an AUREOLE.
azymous of cereemonial bread, unleavened.
befana beffana an Epiphany gift.
benitier a holy-water stoup.
boline in WICCA, a sickle-shaped knife used for gathering herbs and carving symbols.
buddha a statue or picture of the Buddha.
burse a square cloth case to carry the CORPORAL during Communion service.
butsudan in Buddhism, a small household altar.
campana a church bell.
cantharus a large two-handled drinking-cup; a laver in the atrium before ancient churches > CANTHARI.
censer a ceremonial container in which incense is burned.
chametz chometz leavened food not to be eaten during Passover.
chanukiah hanukiah a candelabrum having nine branches that is lit during the festival of Hanukkah.
chometz see CHAMETZ.
chrism consecrated or holy oil.
chrismal of or pertaining to or used in CHRISM, consecrated or holy oil; (noun) a CHRISOM or similar cloth; a vessel for holding the chrism.
chrismatory a vessel for holding holy oil.
chrismon a Christian monogram > CHRISMA or CHRISMONS. [CHRIStus MONogramma].
chuppa chuppah huppah a wedding canopy > CHUUPAHS, CHUPPOT, CHUPPOTH; HUPPAHS, HUPPOT, HUPPOTH.
churinga a sacred amulet of the Australian aborigines.
cimelia treasures laid up in store. No —S. [Late L, pl. of cimelium (church) treasure f. Gk keimelion anything stored up as valuable].
corban anything offered to God in fulfilment of a vow.
corporal corporale corporas a white cloth on which Communion bread and wine are placed.
crosier crozier a pastoral staff or crook held by bishop or abbot.
crosiered carrying a CROSIER, a pastoral staff or crook held by bishop or abbot.
crucifix a cross bearing an image of Christ.
cruet a vessel used in religious ceremonies, especially to hold the Eucharist.
donary a thing given for a sacred purpose.
dorsel dossal dossel a cloth hanging for the back of an altar.
eikon a (religious) icon > EIKONS or EIKONES.
eruv an area, circumscribed by a symbolic line, within which certain activities forbidden to Orthodox Jews on the Sabbath are permitted > ERUVS, ERUVIM or ERUVIN.
eulogia a blessing; holy bread > EULOGIAE or EULOGIAS.
fetich fetiche fetish an object believed to procure for its owner the services of a spirit lodged within it.
font a receptacle for baptismal water.
frontal at the front > FRONTALLY; (noun) a cloth hanging over front of altar > FRONTALS.
frontlet a forehead ornament worn as a PHYLACTERIC, defending against disease.
gargoyle gurgoyle a carved face on a church to keep away evil spirits.
gloriole an aureole.
gurgoyle see GARGOYLE.
hanukiah see CHANUKIAH.
hassock a kneeling cushion in a church; a tuft or clump of grass.
huppah see CHUPPA.
ichthys a fish symbolizing Christ or an emblem or motto (IXHUS), believed to have mystical qualities, being the first letters of the Greek words Jesous Christos, Theou Uious, Soter (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour) > ICHTHYSES. [Gk. ichthys, fish].
icon a religious carving of a saint etc > ICONS or ICONES.
ikon a religious carving of a saint etc > IKONS.
incensory the vessel in which incense is burned and offered; aka CENSER or THURIBLE.
juju a fetish, a supernatural power > JUJUS.
labarum a moral standard; an ecclesiastical banner bearing Christ's monogram > LABARA or LABARUMS.
labrys the double-headed axe, a religious symbol of ancient Crete > LABRYSES. [Gk. labrus].
laver a large vessel for washing, esp ritual washing; also, an edible seaweed of various kinds.
linga lingam the phallic symbol under which Siva is principally worshipped in his character of the creative and reproductive power.
mahmal the empty litter sent to Mecca in the HADJ.
mala a string of beads or knots used in Hindu prayer.
manna the food miraculously provided for the Israelites in the wilderness.
mantra mantram in Hinduism a sacred word or syllable.
mantric relating to a MANTRA.
menorah a Jewish candelabra, esp. for Chanukah.
mezuza mezuzah a small rolled parchment affixed to the doorposts in Jewish houses, in fulfilment of the Torah's command to inscribe God's words upon the doorposts of one's house > MEZUZAS or MEZUZOT ; MEZUZAHS, MEZUZOT or MEZUZOTH.
monstrance an ecclesiastical vessel to expose the Eucharist.
murti an image of a deity which is itself considered divine once consecrated > MURTIS. [Skr. murti, embodiment].
navicula an incense-holder shaped like a boat. [L. navicula, little boat].
om an intoned Hindu sacred symbol.
osculatory a carved tablet kissed by priest during celebration of mass.
ostensorium ostensory a MONSTRANCE, a container for holding consecrated Communion wafers.
padma the sacred lotus.
pall a covering cloth laid upon Communion chalice; (verb) to grow wearisome.
paneity the state of being bread, e.g. the paneity of the eucharistic bread. [A favourite word of the late Graeme Thomas!].
paschal of or pertaining to the passover, or to Easter; (noun) a candle used in certain religious ceremonies.
paten patin patine a plate; a metal disk used to hold Communion bread.
paternoster a large bead in a rosary, at which, in telling, the Lord's Prayer is repeated.
phylacteric phylactery a small leather box containing scriptural extracts worn by Jews at prayer.
rhipidion in the Greek Orthodox church, the fan or FLABELLUM used in the Eucharist> RHIPIDIONS.
rood a cross or crucifix at the entrance to a church chancel.
rosary a string of beads or knotted cord used similarly in other religious traditions.
sabha a set of beads used by Muslims during prayer.
santo the wooden image of a saint > SANTOS.
scapegoat a goat upon whose head are symbolically placed the sins of the people after which he is sent into the wilderness in the biblical ceremony for Yom Kippur; (verb) to make a scapegoat of > SCAPEGOATS, SCAPEGOATING, SCAPEGOATED.
semantron a wooden or metal bar struck with a mallet, used instead of a bell in Orthodox churches > SEMANTRA. [Gk. semantron sign, signal].
shanti shantih a Hindu blessing, meaning peace.
shewbread showbread twelve loaves placed every Sabbath beside the altar in the Jewish Temple and eaten by the priests at the end of the week.
shiviti a Jewish decorative plaque with a religious message > SHIVITIS.
stoope stoup stowp a vessel for holding holy water.
subha a string of beads used in meditation and prayer.
superaltar a raised shelf or stand on the back of an altar, on which different objects can be placed.
tabernacle a tent or movable hut; (verb) to sojourn.
tefillah tephillah a Jewish phylactery, a small cubic leather box that contains a piece of parchment upon which are inscribed passages from the Torah > TEFILLIN, TEPHILLIN.
teraph a holy image or household god revered and used for divination among the pre-exilic Hebrews > TERAPHIM.
thangka a Tibetan religious painting on a scroll.
thurible a CENSER.
trisul trisula the trident of Siva.
unguentarium a vessel for holding unguents > UNGUENTARIA.
vernacle vernicle veronica a cloth with image of Christ's face impressed upon it.
yad a hand-held pointer used for reading the Torah.
yantra a geometrical diagram used in Buddhist meditation.
yoni a sacred representation of the female genitals > YONIS. Cf. LINGA.
yonic having to do with the YONI.