One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A piece of furniture for use during prayer, consisting of a kneeling surface and a narrow upright front with a rest for the elbows or for books.
- ‘The rest were collected by Mrs. Gardner, and they can ordinarily be seen where she put them, at various places throughout her museum-in one of the two chapels, or on a stairway landing, or mounted on top of a prie-dieu.’
- ‘Opposite these, says Patricia, are three chairs and prie-dieux and servers' stalls.’
- ‘Kneeling at the prie-dieu, I had only a few minutes, certainly no more than ten, to think what I wanted to think and pray what I wanted to pray in this moment I had so long anticipated and so irrationally hoped would never come.’
Mid 18th century: French, literally ‘pray God’.
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