- (initial capital letter) the evening star, especially Venus; Hesperus.
- Also called vesper bell. a bell rung at evening.
- vespers, (sometimes initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical.
- a religious service in the late afternoon or the evening.
- the sixth of the seven canonical hours, or the service for it, occurring in the late afternoon or the evening.
- Roman Catholic Church.a part of the office to be said in the evening by those in major orders, frequently made a public ceremony in the afternoons or evenings of Sundays and holy days.
- Anglican Church.evensong(def 1).
- Archaic. evening.
- of, pertaining to, appearing in, or proper to the evening.
- of or relating to vespers.
noun (functioning as singular or plural)
- mainly RC Church the sixth of the seven canonical hours of the divine office, originally fixed for the early evening and now often made a public service on Sundays and major feast days
- another word for evensong (def. 1)
- an evening prayer, service, or hymn
- an archaic word for evening
- (modifier) of or relating to vespers
- the planet Venus, when appearing as the evening star
late 14c., “the evening star,” from Old French vespre, from Latin vesper (masc.), vespera (fem.) “evening star, evening, west,” related to Greek hesperos, and ultimately from PIE *wespero- (cf. Old Church Slavonic večeru, Lithuanian vakaras, Welsh ucher, Old Irish fescor “evening”), from root *we- “down” (cf. Sanskrit avah “down, downward”). Meaning “evening” is attested from c.1600.
Vespers “sixth canonical hour” is attested from 1610s, from plural of Latin vespera “evening;” the native name was evensong (Old English æfen-sang).