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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
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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