"official distributor of alms on behalf of another," c. 1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French almosnier "alms-giver" (12c.; Modern French aumônier), from Vulgar Latin *almosinarius, from Late Latin elemosinarius (adj.) "connected with alms," from eleemosyna "alms" (see alms). OED notes, "the Renascence brought up a number of artificial spellings ...."
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