One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The Eucharist as given to a person near or in danger of death.
- ‘Liturgically, the scene embodies the mass as viaticum, the last mass for the departing soul and a crucial aid for the dying, which Fernando I used as a means of ensuring entrance to Heaven.’
- ‘Once, when he was seriously ill, the priest came to his house to administer viaticum to him but he said he could not die because he had not yet sculpted anything.’
- ‘This was the devastating viaticum of Pomponne de Bellievre for the dying Henry III, king of France.’
- ‘In February 1878 Pius IX died but one month after allowing Victor Emanuel II to receive the viaticum during the king's final bout with malaria.’
2archaic A supply of provisions or an official allowance of money for a journey.supplies, food and drink, food, stores, stocks, groceries, foodstuff, foodstuffs, rations, iron rations, eatables, edibles, fare, daily bread, staplesView synonyms
Mid 16th century: from Latin, neuter of viaticus, from via ‘road’.
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