from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The last of the seven canonical hours recited or sung just before retiring.
  • n. The time of day appointed for this service.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the last of the canonical hours, sung just before retiring

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The last division of the Roman Catholic breviary; the seventh and last of the canonical hours of the Western church; the last prayer of the day, to be said after sunset.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. last of the seven canonical hours just before retiring


Middle English, alteration (probably influenced by matines, matins) of compli, from Old French complie, from Medieval Latin (hōra) complēta, final (hour), from Latin complētus, past participle of complēre, to complete; see complete.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • When I first encountered this word, I thought it referred to a 24-hour computer support hotline.

    May 24, 2008

  • Prayer service held just before bedtime. (from Phrontistery)

    May 24, 2008