One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Christian Church. A member of any of various religious communities associated with St Anthony the Great (251–356), Egyptian hermit and ascetic, often considered as the father of monasticism; especially a member of any of a number of monastic orders of the Eastern Catholic Church following the precepts of St Anthony. Compare "Antonine". Usually in plural.
1Of, relating to, or associated with the Roman emperor Caracalla (188–217). Somewhat rare.
2Of, relating to, or associated with the Roman triumvir Mark Antony (83–30 b.c.).
3Of or relating to St Anthony the Great; of or designating any of the religious communities associated with him.
4Of, relating to, or associated with St Anthony of Padua (1195–1231), Franciscan friar and Doctor of the Church.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Langley (d. 1581), Church of England clergyman and translator. Partly (i) from post-classical Latin Antoniani (plural noun) followers of St Anthony the Great (251–356);.
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