Definition of acolyte in English:


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  • 1A person assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession.

    ‘There were scores of acolytes and priests, preparing to begin the ritual.’
    • ‘With no Sunday school program for the five or so children present, we were invited to be part of the Sunday morning service. I served as an acolyte, a lay reader, and even led liturgical dance.’
    • ‘Priests, acolytes and choirboys pad round a central tent that represents the holy of holies, the spiritual home of the Ark.’
    • ‘When that was done, the nun asked whether my sister and I wished to serve as acolytes at the service.’
    • ‘In Africa it is sacred to the priesthood or acolytes, in America it has become generalized.’
    • ‘Why is it that so many people today are never disturbed or upset at worship (except, of course, when the acolyte does acrobatics, the liturgy runs long, or the kids are cranky and crying)?’
    • ‘My church life has consisted of Hymns: Ancient and Modern, acolytes, incense and sermons.’
    • ‘She pointed to the two girls serving as acolytes and said, ‘Look, Nana, there are two of them.’’
    • ‘I advise my young acolytes to wear ‘Sunday shoes’ instead of athletic shoes when they are serving at the altar.’
    • ‘He said, ‘I'm allowed to be an acolyte, but this is the first time I have ever been asked by my church in any form to reflect deeply on that which is most fundamental to who I am.’’
    • ‘The only other dark face in the photo is that of Francois, who, dressed in the cassock and surplice of an acolyte, stands to one side of the pastor.’
    • ‘I remember seeing Mrs. Zito praying in the back pews of our church on Sunday afternoons when I served as an acolyte at benediction.’
    • ‘The water spills out over the baptismal font, drenching the minister and the acolyte holding the green book.’
    • ‘Afterward he commented to me that I had reminded him of his days as an acolyte when he was a teenager.’
    • ‘They were mostly acolytes, one or two black-robed priests among them.’
    • ‘the acolyte standing next to the priest called out, and she felt hands pulling her gently out of the way of the old man behind her.’
    • ‘You can see why I haven't made it up to priestess yet, I'm still an acolyte.’
    • ‘The procession into the Church was lead by Crossbearer with two acolytes, Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist, Altar Servers, Priests and Bishop.’
    • ‘A bishop and his acolyte attend her, while courtiers in black robes emerge from the gloom on either side of the bed.’
    1. 1.1An assistant or follower.
      ‘she runs the department through a small group of acolytes’
      • ‘But he also set an undisputed world record, for the number of aides, acolytes, spongers and hangers-on that he assembled in one place at the same time.’
      • ‘After a triumphal festival performance in California last month, Smith and co will soon tour with a string of acolytes supporting.’
      • ‘It is daft only because the politicians, their acolytes and braindead supporters will label it daft.’
      • ‘In the meeting, also attended by her acolyte, she tells the president in an excited voice how she had just met with antiwar protesters who were gathering in Washington.’
      • ‘Many of the Roundtable's acolytes and supporters have long since left the country, there being no work here for restructurers and privatisers.’
      • ‘In other words, what do art historians have to teach their fellow acolytes of the historical discipline about how to use the evidence of imagery competently?’
      • ‘The American presidential election turned out to be a bonfire of the vanities for the acolytes of political correctness.’
      • ‘Functionally speaking the best structure is a charismatic leader with a few devoted acolytes who gather people in their wake.’
      • ‘If you haven't read the book, this has enough detail to be useful in debates against the assorted acolytes of the green religion.’
      • ‘None of this would matter very much, were it not for the power of the new priesthood and its marketing acolytes.’
      • ‘Throughout his discussion, he uses a different and darker language than the optimistic tones one hears from the avid acolytes of progress.’
      • ‘But if Lloyd-Jones has had his acolytes, he also has his detractors.’
      • ‘Daisy, the unloved eight-year-old in a large family, becomes the willing acolyte to the tender and solicitous Theresa.’
      • ‘Every Design Master has acolytes and disciples that assisted and facilitated process.’
      • ‘The actor has more adoring acolytes than any gilded idol in Achilles' day.’
      • ‘Jencks and the acolytes of the new worship of nature are wrong.’
      • ‘I can foresee a long cult career for Andrew W.K., devoted acolytes swearing he is the best thing ever, and everybody else ignoring him because they don't know how to do anything else.’
      • ‘A Derrida acolyte describes the first, giddy days of her conversion.’
      • ‘Fascinating, to follow - once more - the obfuscation and fact-dodging that people like him and his acolytes engage in.’
      • ‘Writers surround themselves with flunkeys and acolytes who will always be ready to assist.’
      • ‘Stuck in limbo for 37 years, the album has finally been unveiled to adoring acolytes, frothing critics and celebrity fans by its creator.’
      assistant, helper, attendant, retainer, servant, minion, underling, lackey, henchman
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/ˈakəˌlīt/ /ˈækəˌlaɪt/


Middle English from Old French acolyt or ecclesiastical Latin acolytus, from Greek akolouthos ‘follower’.