Definition of book of hours in English:

book of hours


  • A book of prayers appointed for particular canonical hours or times of day, used by Roman Catholics for private devotions and popular especially in the Middle Ages, when they were often richly illuminated.

    • ‘In the sixteenth century, chatelaines included a variety of attachments such as keys, knives, pouches, rosaries, pomanders, books of hours, and mirrors.’
    • ‘Beyond the planets are four depictions of the seasons that recall a medieval book of hours but seem to rely on the tarot, with images of the Fool, the Chariot and Death.’
    • ‘Psalters were the most popular book used for private devotion before the books of hours.’
    • ‘A book of hours would naturally contain a calendar, and this became the opportunity for a display of the illuminator's talent.’
    • ‘Numerous depictions of pigs appear in W. European art of the 15th and 16th centuries, often as symbols of November or December in books of hours.’
    • ‘Like many books of hours, the Murthly book was written for a noblewoman.’
    • ‘He is also known to have been a devoted reader of sacred works including books of hours and other illuminated texts.’
    • ‘These early books included histories, chronicles, romances, religious texts, and books of hours.’
    • ‘Francois Regnault, who printed beautiful, elaborate primers and books of hours, does not seem to have ever fully recovered from the Act of 1534.’
    • ‘Often, the introductory pages of local bibles or books of hours would be elegantly decorated with wonderful letter forms.’