Definition of ciborium in English:



  • 1A receptacle shaped like a shrine or a cup with an arched cover, used in the Christian Church to hold the Eucharist.

    • ‘One of these formal tracings is color-coded according to the materials employed, and it details the contours and regulating lines for a silver-gilt ciborium.’
    • ‘In one of the more memorable scenes Huguette's religious advisers held a ciborium over Leonarde's head, and she was required to lower herself continually so that her head never rose above the Eucharist within it.’
    • ‘Sometimes there are two dishes, a knight on a bier, a head in a dish, a stone, or a ciborium.’
    • ‘For generations, parishioners have donated many items such as our beautiful stained glass windows, silver chalices, ciboria, monstrance, statues and crucifix.’
    holy place, temple, church, chapel, tabernacle, altar, sanctuary, sanctum
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  • 2A canopy over an altar in a church, standing on four pillars.

    • ‘The four-sided capital, proposed here as part of a tomb niche, was more likely part of a freestanding ciborium or architectural support.’
    • ‘This polygonal stage overhangs the altar and thus serves as a monumental ciborium for liturgical activity below.’
    • ‘It was unified with the altar, its frame echoed the architecture of the building and in some cases, like the high altar in St Peter's, Rome, was given a ciborium.’


Mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek kibōrion ‘seed vessel of the water lily or a cup made from it’. ciborium (sense 1) is probably influenced by Latin cibus ‘food’.