Definition of breviary in US English:



  • A book containing the service for each day, to be recited by those in orders in the Roman Catholic Church.

    • ‘She was not kneeling there, breviary in hand in silent devotion.’
    • ‘I found him surrounded by scores, his breviary in his hand.’
    • ‘He was a small man who collected bones and breviaries.’
    • ‘This breviary became the basis for the one most commonly used in Taiwan today.’
    • ‘The Sarum breviary was reissued and ordered to be used throughout the province of Canterbury.’


Late Middle English (also denoting an abridged version of the Psalms): from Latin breviarium ‘summary, abridgment’, from breviare ‘abridge’, from brevis ‘short, brief’.