Definition of Agnus Dei in US English:

Agnus Dei


  • 1A figure of a lamb bearing a cross or flag, as an emblem of Christ.

    • ‘The Agnus Dei probably goes back to 5th century Rome.’
    • ‘The Cardinals then distributed the Agnus Deis as they saw fit, and they were also sewn into small pouches of various shapes by nuns to keep them clean and safe or pressed into heart-shaped lockets.’
    • ‘It suggests considerable unawareness of his danger that, when taken, he was wearing an Agnus Dei and in possession of a papal bull.’
    • ‘This year's ornament, featuring the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, art-work from the Archabbey Basilica.’
    • ‘In the tympanum itself there is an Agnus Dei in a medallion supported by two archangels, Gabriel and Michael.’
  • 2Christian Church
    An invocation beginning with the words “Lamb of God” forming a set part of the liturgy.

    • ‘Thus, the norm for the United States continues the practice of kneeling down after the Agnus Dei, unless a bishop establishes, for his entire diocese, the practice of remaining standing.’
    • ‘The distinct and condensed formula of the Agnus Dei itself, however, was not apparently introduced into the Mass until the year 687, when Pope Sergius I decreed that during the fraction of the Host both clergy and people should sing the Agnus Dei.’
    • ‘Immediately before the Agnus Dei, the priest gives the nuptial blessing.’
    • ‘The ceremony of blessing takes place after the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) of the Mass.’
    • ‘On other days the bread may be broken in silence or during the Agnus Dei.’
    1. 2.1 A musical setting of the Agnus Dei.
      • ‘In the second setting of the Agnus Dei, Striggio subdivides each of his five double choirs even further, requiring an extra set of four voices in each choir, a third sub-choir.’
      • ‘This "anthology of sacred choral music" spans 400 years and includes such masterpieces as Allegri's Miserere, Bach's "Jesu, joy of man's desiring," and Barber's exquisite Agnus Dei.’
      • ‘Many readers will know that Barber's Adagio for Strings originally was part of a string quartet, but they might not know that Barber later arranged it for unaccompanied chorus as an Agnus Dei.’
      • ‘He didn't complete more than three movements: a Sanctus, a Benedictus, and an Agnus Dei.’
      • ‘The Agnus Dei calls for alto, violins, and continuo.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, literally ‘Lamb of God’.


Agnus Dei