One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Originally: a charitable act. In later use specifically: an act of giving alms. Formerly also: †something given as alms, a charitable gift or offering (obsolete).
2A good, kind, or praiseworthy deed; = "alms". Now historical and rare.
Old English; earliest use found in Vercelli Homilies. From alms + deed.
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