A loose-fitting, white ecclesiastical gown with wide sleeves, worn over a cassock.
Designating a garment with a V-shaped neckline in which fabric from one side of the garment diagonally overlaps fabric from the other side before being sown together.
[Middle English surplis, from Anglo-Norman surpliz, variant of Old French sourpeliz, from Medieval Latin superpellīcium : Latin super-, super- + Medieval Latin pellīcium, fur coat (from Latin, neuter of pellīcius, made of skin, from pellis, skin; see pel-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
(click for a larger image)surplice
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.