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Monday, 3 December 2012


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Your word for today is: advent, n.

advent, n.

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈadv(ə)nt/, /ˈadvɛnt/,  U.S. /ˈædˌvɛnt/

Forms:  α.    lOE–16 aduent,   ME–15 aduente,   ME– advent,   15 advente;   also Sc.  pre-17 aduent,   pre-17 adwent.  β.   ME auent,   ME avent.   Also with capital initial.

Etymology:Originally <  classical Latin adventus (see below). Subsequently reinforced by Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French advent, avent (French avent, †advent) the ecclesiastical season immediately preceding Christmas (1119), the coming of Christ to the world, the Incarnation (1139, 13th cent., and 15th cent. in several apparently isolated attestations), coming or arrival of any person or thing considered significant (14th cent.; rare) <  classical Latin adventus approach, arrival, (of gods) manifestation, epiphany, in post-classical Latin also coming of Christ to the world, incarnation, Second Coming of Christ (Vulgate), coming of the Holy Spirit, feast of Pentecost (4th or 5th cent. in Jerome), ecclesiastical season immediately preceding Christmas (7th or 8th cent.) <  advent-, past participial stem of advenīre to come (to) (see advene v.) + -tus, suffix forming verbal nouns.

Compare Old Occitan avent (1420), Catalan advent (15th cent.), Spanish adviento (15th cent.), Portuguese advento (14th cent. as †auento), Italian avvento (a1294 in general sense ‘coming, arrival’, a1367 denoting the liturgical season preceding Christmas). The Latin word was also borrowed into other Germanic languages; compare Old Frisian advent (West Frisian advent), Middle Dutch, Dutch advent, Middle Low German advente, Middle High German advente (German Advent), Old Swedish, Swedish advent, Old Danish aduent (Danish advent).
Sense 3 shows either a later reborrowing <  classical Latin adventus, or perhaps an extended use of sense 2.

The French form †advent, showing remodelling of the spelling after the Latin ulterior etymon, is the earliest attested variant in the language; it was frequent until the 14th cent., and became obsolete in the 17th cent. The form avent, which is the source of the β. forms, is first attested in the early 13th cent.

Compare earlier use of Latin adventus domini (also adventum domini) in sense 1 in an English context:

OE  Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) xxxix. 520 Ðeos tid oð midne winter is gecweden aduentus domini, þæt is drihtnes tocyme.
OE Laws of Æðelred II (Nero) v. xviii. 242 Ordal & aðas syndan tocweðen [perh. read tocwedene] freolsdagum & rihtymbrendagum & fram Adventum Domini oð octabas Epiphanię.

 1.  Christian Church Chiefly with capital initial. The ecclesiastical season immediately preceding Christmas.
In the Western Church now the period including the four Sundays before Christmas; in the Orthodox Church, a longer period beginning in the middle of November.

lOE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough interpolation) anno 963, Þe arcebiscop of Cantwarbyrig..him gehalgod to biscop on þe fyrste Sunnondæg of Aduent, þet wæs on iii kalendas Decembris.

lOE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) anno 1120, Se cyng Henrig..toforan Aduent hider to lande for.

a1225 (1200) MS Trin. Cambr. in  R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 3 We..ben on þesse þre wuken þe ben cleped aduent, þat is seggen on englis, ure louerd ihesu cristes tocume.

c1300 St. Thomas Becket (Laud) l. 1813 in  C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 
158 Þene þridde day of þe Aduent bi-fore cristemasse it was.

a1400 Ancrene Riwle (Pepys) (1976) 199 In þe aduent ne schull ȝe nouȝth..ete twies.

1483  tr.  Adam of Eynsham Reuelation xxi. f. 24, Y fastyd the dayes of aduent.

a1500 Rule Minoresses in  W. W. Seton Two 15th Cent. Franciscan Rules (1914) 86 Þe sustris..schul resseyue..þe ful holi bodi of owre lorde..eche sonday in lentyn & in þe Auent.

1599  F. Thynne Animaduersions (1875) 40 that tyme whiche is properlye called the Aduente.

1688  H. Wharton tr.  G. Dellon Hist. Inquisition Goa xxiii. 41 The Auto dafe, or Act of Faith was ordinarily performed the first Sunday in Advent.

a1773  A. Butler Moveable Feasts Catholic Church (1839) ii i. 59 In the Gelasian liturgy..only five Sundays occur in Advent.

1860  R. C. Trench Serm. in Westm Abbey i. 1 All the services of this Advent season.

1910 Encycl. Brit. I. 235/1 Special lessons are prescribed for the four Sundays in Advent.

2004 Ireland's Own Christmas 21/2 The Sunday before the first Sunday in Advent was the day when the plum pudding was stirred up.

 2  In Christian Theology: the coming of Christ to the world; the Incarnation. Hence: Christ's expected return to earth on Judgement Day (freq. in second advent: see second adj. and n.2 Special uses 1). Also: the coming to earth of the Holy Spirit, as at Pentecost.

a1425  Wyclif Sel. Eng. Wks. (1871) II. 5 Joon Baptiste tolde of Cristis advent.

a1500 (1450) Gesta Rom. (Harl. 7333) 97 Men þat were afore þe advent of Criste.

1582 Bible(Rheims) 1 Thess. iv. 15 We which liue, which are remaining in the aduent [other versions coming] of our Lord.

1664  Bp. J. Taylor Χρισις Τελειωτικη §3. 72 The perfective Unction of Chrism gives to him the advent of the Holy Spirit.

1736 Gentleman's Mag. June 347/2 But all,..who hope And love his second advent, will receive The same reward.

1785  W. Cowper Task vi. 866 Who, could they see The dawn of thy last advent, long desir'd, Would creep into the bowels of the hills.

1831  H. C. Backhouse Jrnl. 4 July in Jrnl. & Lett. (1858) vii. 103 A.discourse on redemption, beginning with the bondage of the children of Israel in the advent of our Saviour.

1894 Homiletic Rev. May 434/1 The heavenly signs that accompanied the advent of the Holy Spirit.

1967  H. H. Rowdon Origins of Brethren iii. 82 The view that the Second Advent of Christ..will be preceded by the removal of all true Christian meet Him in the air.

2002 Art Bull. 84 101/1 Restoring rabbinic Judaism to its biblical foundations right up to the advent of Christ.

 3.  The coming or arrival of any person or thing considered significant.

1591  J. M. Phillippes Venus f. 6, He would not sit expecting the aduent of his adherents.

1658  Sir T. Browne Hydriotaphia v. 73 To extend our memories by Monuments, whose death we dayly pray for, and whose duration we cannot hope, without injury to our expectations, in the advent of the last day, were a contradiction to our beliefs.

1742  E. Young Complaint v. 906 Death's dreadful Advent is the Mark of Man

1782  W. Mason in Corr. Walpole & Mason (1851) II. 310, I shall not wait for the advent of Starvation from Edinburgh to settle my judgment.

1801  J. Strutt Glig-gamena Angel-ðeod Introd. §4. 5 The advent of the Normans.

1840  T. Hood Up Rhine 47 Too much notice the advent of another passenger.

1904 Daily Chron. 9 Sept. 6/7 To-night marks the advent of Tishri, the most important month in the Jewish calendar.

1960  D. C. Braungart  & R. Buddeke Introd. Animal Biol. (ed. 5) xii. 189 With the advent of the first flowers of spring..the queen begins laying eggs in the cells of the brood combs.

2006  C. Anderson Long Tail xii. 199 The advent of video rentals essentially placed thousands of movies on offer in every living room on every night.


 Advent calendar n. †(a) an account of the saints' days falling within the period of Advent (obs. rare); (b)  [after German Adventskalender (1928)] a calendar celebrating the approach of Christmas, now esp. one having a small window, pocket, etc., for each of the first 24 days of December which are opened in turn to reveal a seasonal picture, gift, or piece of confectionery.

1867  L. Shepherd tr.  P. L. P. Guéranger Liturg. Year: Advent 499 One of these four Pontiffs appears on our Advent Calendar [Fr. sur le Cycle, au temps de l'Avent], Damasus, whose feast we kept but a few days since.

1937  C. H. Bason Study of Homeland & Civilization in Elem. Schools Germany v. 68 An Advent calendar hung in one of the windows.

1963 Sunset Dec. 110/1 A child can start his private celebration of Christmas three weeks early with his own gift-laden Advent calendar.

2010  D. Heinz Christmas iii. 54 From homes where the last door in the Advent calendar has been opened and the last chocolate gobbled, people make their way to worship.

Advent candle n. [compare German Adventskerze (1906 or earlier)] a candle lit during Advent, symbolizing the coming of light into the world at Christmas in the person of Jesus Christ; spec. (a) each of four candles (often set in a ring or wreath), lit on successive Sundays in Advent; (sometimes also) a fifth central candle lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and symbolizing the birth of Jesus; (b) a candle marked with the days of Advent and allowed to burn a section at a time on each day.

1885  M. A. Biggs tr.  A. Mickiewicz Master Thaddeus I. i. 34 Likewise she gazed, so the four eyes burned Towards each other, bright as Advent candles.

1942 Gettysburg(Pa.)Times 5 Dec. 2/3 Each Sunday until Christmas the traditional ceremony of the lighting of the Advent candles will be observed.

1980  G. Cooke Celebration of Christmas 32/3 The first of twenty-four sections on the Advent candle is burnt on 1 December.

1997  J. L. Driskill Christmas Stories from Around World ii. ii. 122 Many churches light Advent candles. The Advent wreath is usually made of evergreens with a place for four colored candles around a white ‘Christ Candle’ in the center.

2006 Daily Tel. (Nexis) 2 Dec. (Art section) 8 It might be a little late to start your advent candle.., but leave it burning and you'll soon catch up.

Advent image n. now hist. either of a pair of dolls or figurines representing the infant Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and carried from door to door during Advent to collect money.
The custom seems to have been particularly associated with the northern counties of England (esp. Yorkshire).

1859 Christmas Bk. 10 All those who sent away the ‘advent images’ without a gift, would have no good luck all through the year

1986 Sumner(Iowa)Gaz. 25 Dec. 3a/2 In rural England, it was considered to be unlucky for a house not to be visited by a woman or children carrying a box containing ‘advent images,’ dolls dressed up to represent the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child.

2009 Sunday Herald(Glasgow) (Nexis) 29 Nov. 26 In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a now-extinct custom in which poor women carried around the ‘Advent images’—two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Advent ring n. a ring of four or five Advent candles; (sometimes) spec. = Advent wreath n.

1953 Southwest Times(Pulaski, Va.) 20 Dec. ii. 1/2  (caption) Members of the Madeline Harman Woman's club place gifts for the needy around Advent ring at annual Christmas party.

1969 Hymns & Songs No. 88, On each Sunday in Advent, verses of this song may be sung while the candles for the day are lit on the Advent Ring—recalling the witnesses to the coming of the True Light.

2007 Cornishman (Nexis) 6 Dec. 30 An Advent ring surrounded with holly, flowers and candles.

Advent Sunday n. the first Sunday in Advent; (also occas.) each of the Sundays in Advent.

a1500 (1415)  J. Mirk Festial (Gough) 1 Advent Sonday..þys day..ys cleped Sonenday yn þe Aduent, þat ys, þe Sonenday of Cristys comyng.

1627  J. Cosin Coll. Private Devotions sig. B9, Advent Sunday is alwayes the neerest the Feast of S. Andrew.

1655  A. Sparrow Rationale Bk. Common Prayer 36 Before Christmas are appointed four Advent Sundayes, so called because they are to prepare us for Christ his Advent or coming in the Flesh.

1704  R. Nelson Compan. Festivals & Fasts i. xxiv. 253 Advent Sundays..The four Sundays that precede the great Festival of our Saviour's Nativity.

1804 Orthodox Churchman's Mag. Sept. 206 Two years ago in the Oxford almanack we had Advent Sunday; and the Sunday after that was denominated the first, instead of the second Sunday in Advent.

1912  J. M. Farrar Chats with Children of Church xlviii. 241 Since the sixth century some of our churches have set apart four Sundays before Christmas and call them Advent Sundays.

1997 Cathedral Music Winter 29/2 The traditional carol service..was not broadcast live on Advent Sunday..because of a scheduling mix-up.

Advent wreath n. [compare German Adventskranz (1915 or earlier)] a decorative wreath made from evergreen foliage and set with advent candles.

1911 Hartford(Connecticut)Courant 25 Dec. 13/5 The annual Christmas entertainment of the Methodist Sunday School will be held this evening at 6 o'clock... Advent Wreath, with introduction by Miss Ward.

1976  F. H. Pettit Christmas all around House i. 2 A century ago in England, the Advent wreath was an elaborate ribbon-trimmed construction of holly and laurel leaves, which hung down from the ceiling so that the candlelight shone down from overhead during the singing of carols. A simpler table wreath made of evergreen sprigs with four red candles is more common today.

2003  R. Taylor How to read Church 33 The Advent wreath is usually decorated with a Christmassy evergreen such as holly or ivy, tinsel or baubles, and some churches include a fifth candle for lighting on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

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