Definition of Ash Wednesday noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Ash Wednesday

BrE BrE//æʃ ˈwenzdeɪ//
; NAmE NAmE//æʃ ˈwenzdeɪ//
; BrE BrE//æʃ ˈwenzdi//
; NAmE NAmE//æʃ ˈwenzdi//
[uncountable, countable] Religious holidays and festivals
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the first day of Lent see also Shrove Tuesday See related entries: Religious holidays and festivals Word Originfrom the custom of marking the foreheads of penitents with ashes on that day. Culture Traditionally, Roman Catholics go to church on Ash Wednesday and their foreheads are marked with ashes as a sign that human bodies become dust. In the US this tradition is still widely followed. The ashes are not washed off but left to go away on their own. It is polite not to make a comment on the mark on a person's forehead.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Ash Wednesday