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  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Altar-cloth the cover for an altar in a Christian church, usually richly embroidered.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n altar-cloth A cover for an altar in a Christian church. It is a general term, and includes the close case of linen which was used in the middle ages and removed only for washing the altar, the later cerecloth (which see), and the temporary coverings, whether of white linen, or of rich stuff, or of embroidery. The different coverings for the altar have different names. See antependium, frontal, and superfrontal.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Altar-cloth the covering of the altar, placed over and around it, of silk, velvet, satin, or cloth, often used as including the frontal (antependium), and the super-frontal
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. altārealtus, high.


In literature:

With steps that did not falter, Catherine Nagle went behind the altar into the little sacristy, there to seek in the darkness an altar-cloth.
"Studies in love and in terror" by Marie Belloc Lowndes
But Mrs. Frankland was not a person to allow her talent to be buried even in the most richly dight altar-cloth.
"The Faith Doctor" by Edward Eggleston
A carpet to lay before the altar, a new altar-cloth, also painted shields for the roof.
"Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak" by Harriette McDougall
So, upon an altar cloth, two wax candles burn side by side, with clear, pure light.
"IT and Other Stories" by Gouverneur Morris
Part of an altar-cloth.
"Art in Needlework" by Lewis F. Day
Before us rose the altar, with its images and its unlit tapers, its cloth of gold, and its silver appurtenances.
"The Love Story of Abner Stone" by Edwin Carlile Litsey
The miraculous altar cloth with the dark spots in its center was mounted in a gilded frame above the altar.
"The Saracen: Land of the Infidel" by Robert Shea
And you, Ben, bring the hide strands, the faded old cord, and that black altar-cloth!
"Captain Brand of the "Centipede"" by H. A. (Henry Augustus) Wise
The altar-cloth we desire to present, may be simply a gift, so that we may choose any design that will agree with the date of the building.
"Needlework As Art" by Marian Alford
These altars were borne by persons appointed for the purpose, who were clothed in magnificent costumes.
"Alexander the Great" by Jacob Abbott
She got an angry scolding for having tried at communion to hide her bosom with the altar-cloth.
"La Sorcière: The Witch of the Middle Ages" by Jules Michelet
Her shoulders are covered with costly lace, and the front of her skirt is like an altar-cloth heavy with embroidery.
"Romantic Spain" by John Augustus O'Shea
The altar cloths had to be discarded when the "Mass" was reformed into the "Holy Communion.
"The Annals of Willenhall" by Frederick William Hackwood
And the white altar-cloth my husband's sister embroidered.
"St. Peter's Umbrella" by Kálmán Mikszáth
On the right side was a pew closed with iron, and behind the altar a rich bed, covered with cloth of silk and gold.
"Historic Tales, Vol 14 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
His writing-table, draped with a white cloth and covered with green hemlock boughs, formed the altar.
"The Mountain Girl" by Payne Erskine
We will search for secret letters his house, his chest, the altars, the sarcophagi of his church, nay, even his clothes.
"The Scarlet Banner" by Felix Dahn
The day following this work was finished and an altar erected, which was covered with cotton cloth.
"The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Vol 1 (of 2)" by Bernal Diaz del Castillo
Under the altar cloth they will find two daggers.
"Marguerite de Valois" by Alexandre Dumas
He made a little altar in the middle of the field with three sticks and a board, spread a cloth on it, and planted a green bush by the side.
"Through the Land of the Serb" by Mary Edith Durham

In poetry:

What altar cloth, what rag of worth
What turn of card, what trick of game
And you we valued still a little
More than Christ.
"In General" by Djuna Barnes
Two lights on a lowly altar;
Two snowy cloths for a Feast;
Two vases of dying roses;
The morning comes from the east,
With a gleam for the folds of the vestments
And a grace for the face of the priest.
"Feast Of The Sacred Heart" by Abram Joseph Ryan