pa·ter·nos·ter (pā′tər-nŏstər, pä′-, păt′ər-)
1. often Paternoster The Lord's Prayer.
2. One of the large beads on a rosary on which the Lord's Prayer is said.
3. A sequence of words spoken as a prayer or a magic formula.
4. A weighted fishing line having several jointed attachments for hooks connected by beadlike swivels.
5. An elevator constructed of a series of doorless compartments hung on chains that move slowly and continuously, allowing passengers to step on and off at will.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.