- any place or house of worship, especially one designed for a large congregation.
- (often initial capital letter) the portable sanctuary in use by the Israelites from the time of their wandering in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt to the building of the Temple in Jerusalem by Solomon. Ex. 25–27.
- Ecclesiastical. an ornamental receptacle for the reserved Eucharist, now generally found on the altar.
- a canopied niche or recess, as for an image or icon.
- a temporary dwelling or shelter, as a tent or hut.
- a dwelling place.
- the human body as the temporary abode of the soul.
verb (used with or without object), tab·er·nac·led, tab·er·nac·ling.
- to place or dwell in, or as if in, a tabernacle.
- (often capital) Old Testament
- the portable sanctuary in the form of a tent in which the ancient Israelites carried the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25–27)
- the Jewish Temple regarded as the shrine of the divine presence
- Judaism an English word for sukkah
- a meeting place for worship used by Mormons or Nonconformists
- a small ornamented cupboard or box used for the reserved sacrament of the Eucharist
- the human body regarded as the temporary dwelling of the soul
- mainly RC Church a canopied niche or recess forming the shrine of a statue
- nautical a strong framework for holding the foot of a mast stepped on deck, allowing it to be swung down horizontally to pass under low bridges, etc
n.mid-13c., “portable sanctuary carried by the Israelites in the wilderness,” from Old French tabernacle (12c.), from Latin tabernaculum “tent,” especially “a tent of an augur” (for taking observations), diminutive of taberna “hut, cabin, booth” (see tavern). Transferred late 14c. to the Temple in Jerusalem (which continued its function). Sense of “house of worship” first recorded 1690s. The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (mid-October) was observed as a thanksgiving for harvest.