1. an altar attendant in public worship.
  2. Roman Catholic Church.
    1. a member of the highest-ranking of the four minor orders.
    2. the order itself.Compare exorcist(def 2), lector(def 2), ostiary(def 1).
  3. any attendant, assistant, or follower.


  1. a follower or attendant
  2. Christianity an officer who attends or assists a priest

early 14c., “inferior officer in the church,” from Old French acolite or directly from Medieval Latin acolytus (Late Latin acoluthos), from Greek akolouthos “following, attending on,” literally “having one way,” from a- “together with,” copulative prefix, + keleuthose “a way, road, path, track,” from PIE *qeleu- (cf. Lithuanian kelias “way”). In late Old English as a Latin word.

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