1. a person whose function or duty is the distribution of alms on behalf of an institution, a royal personage, a monastery, etc.
  2. British.
    1. a hospital official who determines the amount due for a patient’s treatment.
    2. a social worker in a hospital.


  1. British obsolete a trained hospital social worker responsible for the welfare of patients
  2. (formerly) a person who distributes alms or charity on behalf of a household or institution

“official distributor of alms on behalf of another,” c.1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French almosnier (12c.; Modern French aumônerie), from Vulgar Latin *almosinarius, from Late Latin elemosinarius (adj.) “connected with alms,” from eleemosyna “alms” (see alms).

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