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 ALMS, the giving of relief, and the relief given, whether in goods or money, to the poor, particularly applied to the charity bestowed under a sense of religious obligation. The word in O. Eng. was aelmysse, and is derived through the Teutonic adaptation (cf. the modern Ger. almosen ) of the Latinized form of the Gr. lleemosbne, compassion or mercy, from ileos, pity.  The English word “eleemosynary,” that which is given in the way of alms, charitable, gratuitous, derives direct from the Greek. “Alms” is often, like “riches,” wrongly taken as a plural word.

ALMSHOUSE, a house built and endowed by private charity for the residence of poor and usually aged people.  The greater portion were built after the Reformation.  Two interesting examples are the Hospital of St Cross, near Winchester, founded in 1136, and Coningsby Hospital at Hereford, founded in 1614.