1. A short invocation for help, blessing and guidance from God, said on behalf of another person or persons (sometimes at the end of a church worship service).
    to pronounce / give / say the benediction; the nuptial benediction; a parting benediction
    Synonyms: blessing
    • circa 1605 William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene 7,
      O, look upon me, sir,
      And hold your hands in benediction o’er me.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 7, lines 1281-1282,
      So saying, he [the angel] arose; whom Adam thus
      Follow’d with benediction.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, London: for the author, Volume 4, Letter 50, p. 290,
      My pen (its last scrawl a benediction on my beloved) dropt from my fingers;
    • 1876, George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Book 4, Chapter 34,
      Cohen kept on his own hat, and took no notice of the visitor, but stood still while the two children went up to him and clasped his knees: then he laid his hands on each in turn and uttered his Hebrew benediction; whereupon the wife, who had lately taken baby from the cradle, brought it up to her husband and held it under his outstretched hands, to be blessed in its sleep.
    • 1961, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas, Penguin, 1992, Part 2, Chapter 6, p. 537,
      Long brahminical hairs sprouted out of his ears, and he drew further attention to himself by closing his eyes, neatly shaking away tears, putting a hand on Owad’s head and speaking a Hindi benediction.
  2. In the Anglican church, the ceremony used to institute an abbot, analogous to the consecration of a bishop.
    • 1726, John Ayliffe, Parergon juris canonici anglicani: or, A commentary, by way of supplement to the canons and constitutions of the Church of England, London: for the author, “Of Abbots, Priors, Abbies, Priories, &c.,” p. 13,
      What Consecration is to a Bishop, that Benediction is to an Abbot; but in a different way: For a Bishop is not properly such till Consecration; but an Abbot being elected and confirm’d, is properly such before Benediction.
  3. A Roman Catholic rite by which bells, banners, candles, etc., are blessed with holy water and formally dedicated to God.
    • 1945, Evelyn Waugh, chapter 5, in Brideshead Revisited […], 3rd edition, London: Chapman & Hall, OCLC 54130892 ↗, book 1 (Et in Arcadia Ego), page 98 ↗:
      [He] later liked to attend benediction in the chapel at Brideshead and see the ladies of the family with their necks arched in devotion under their black lace mantillas; [...]
  4. Help, good fortune or reward from God or another supernatural source.
    Synonyms: blessing, grace
    • circa 1610 William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act 14, Scene 4,
      […] they throng who should buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed and brought a benediction to the buyer:
    • 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Part I,
      Homeward serenely she walked with God’s benediction upon her.
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