I. noun 1. the table in a Christian church at which the bread and wine are consecrated in communion services. 2. a table or flat-topped block used as the focus for a religious ritual, especially for making sacrifices or offerings to a deity. II. phrases 1. lead someone to the altar marry a woman. 2. sacrifice someone/thing on/at the altar of make someone or something suffer in the interests of • no businessman is going to sacrifice his company on the altar of such altruism.
– origin Old English altar, alter, based on late Latin altar, altarium, from Latin altus ‘high’.