Alms (#), n. sing. & pl. [OE. almes, almesse, AS. aelmysse, fr. L. eleemosyna, Gr. mercy, charity, alms, fr. 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.
Tenure by free alms. See Frankalmoign.
⇒ 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.
© Webster 1913.