AskDefine | Define alb

Dictionary Definition

alb n : a white linen liturgical vestment with sleeves; worn by priests

User Contributed Dictionary



Middle English albe<Old English< Medieval Latin alba< Latin albus, "white".


  1. A long white robe worn by priests and other ministers at religious ceremonies, underneath most of the other vestments.


  • Dutch: albe
  • Finnish: alba
  • Italian: camice

Related terms

Middle High German


Old High German also alb. From Indo-European root *albho- (brilliant, shining white).

Usage notes

Alb was used through the 13th century.


alb (plural elbe, elber)
  1. elf
  2. friendly spirit, ghostly being, genius, or fairy

Alternative spellings


Derived terms


  • Marshall Jones Company (1930). Mythology of All Races Series, Volume 2 Eddic, Great Britain: Marshall Jones Company, 1930, pp. 220.





  1. white


Extensive Definition

otheruses ALB The alb, one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and many Protestant churches, is an ample garment of white linen coming down to the ankles and usually girded with a cincture. It is simply the long linen tunic used by the Romans of old. In Early Medieval Europe it was also normally worn by secular clergy in non-liturgical contexts..
It is the oldest liturgical vestment, and was adopted very early by Christians, and especially by the clergy for the Eucharistic liturgy. Nowadays, the alb is the common vestment for all ministers at Mass, both clerics and laypersons, and is worn over the cassock and under any other special garments, such as the stole, dalmatic or chasuble. If the alb does not completely cover the neck of the cassock an amice is then required to be worn underneath the alb. Otherwise the amice is optional. The shortening of the alb for use outside a church has given rise to the surplice and its cousin the rochet worn by canons and bishops. Post Tridentine albs often were made with lace. Since then, this detail has fallen out of style, except in parts of the Anglo-Catholic movement and some Roman Catholic parishes. In many Anglican parishes, the alb is decorated with apparels. In most High Anglican churches the Alb is an undergarment worn under the vestments. In some lower and broad Anglican Churches the Alb is considered everyday wear.
A chasuble-alb is a contemporary Eucharistic vestment that combines features of the chasuble and alb. In the Roman Catholic Church it was first adopted in France, though without official approval. In France it is no longer fashionable. But it has been officially approved in some countries such as the Philippines (see ZENIT article of 25 January 2003), and in Hawaii (see Bishop Larry Silva’s Liturgical Catechesis). It is always white in colour but with a stole of the colour appointed for the Mass of the day worn outside it, in place of the normal white alb and coloured chasuble.

See also


alb in Catalan: Alba religiosa
alb in Czech: Alba (oděv)
alb in German: Albe
alb in Spanish: Alba (indumentaria)
alb in French: Aube (vêtement)
alb in Indonesian: Alba
alb in Italian: Alba (abbigliamento)
alb in Dutch: Albe
alb in Japanese: アルバ (衣服)
alb in Norwegian: Albe
alb in Polish: Alba (szata liturgiczna)
alb in Portuguese: Alva (veste litúrgica)
alb in Russian: Альба (облачение)
alb in Finnish: Alba (vaate)
alb in Swedish: Alba (kyrkotextil)
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