One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A stone basin near the altar in Catholic and pre-Reformation churches for draining water used in the Mass.
- ‘The second stone was apparently the octagonal upper portion of a piscina or lavacrum, like those found near the altar in 13 th century churches.’
- ‘The sedilia form an ensemble with the piscina, tomb of Christ, and patron's tomb, all carved with foliage and figures.’
- ‘The church itself is home to a 100-year-old organ, 14th century carvings and a 12 th century baptism font known as a piscina.’
2(in ancient Roman architecture) a pool or pond for bathing or swimming.
- ‘Adjoining it is the original swimming pool (piscina), heavily restored but still in use, supplied from the hot spring reputed to be sovereign in the treatment of chest complaints and rheumatism.’
Late 16th century (in piscina (sense 2)): from Latin, literally ‘fish pond’, from piscis ‘fish’; piscina (sense 1) was found in medieval Latin.
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