• WordNet 3.6
    • n censer a container for burning incense (especially one that is swung on a chain in a religious ritual)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Censer A vessel for perfumes; esp. one in which incense is burned.☞ The ecclesiastical censer is usually cup-shaped, has a cover pierced with holes, and is hung by chains. The censer bearer swings it to quicken the combustion. "Her thoughts are like the fume of frankincense
      Which from a golden censer forth doth rise."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n censer A vessel in which incense is burned before an altar. Censers are now usually made of metal in the shape of a cup with a perforated cover, and contain burning charcoal or other material capable of producing sufficient heat to burn the fragrant gums used as incense. The censer is swung in the hand by chains. In ancient Roman usage incense was carried to the altar in a square box called an acerra, from which it was taken and sprinkled on the flame. A similar practice prevailed among the Greeks. The ecclesiastical term for a censer is thurible. The only distinct biblical precepts regarding the use of the censer are found in Num. iv. 14 and Lev. xvi. 12. According to Bingham, neither incense nor censers were used in the Christian church during the first three centuries. They are now used in the Greek Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Apostolic Church, and in some Anglican and other churches.
    • n censer A fire-pan in which perfumes were burned to sweeten the atmosphere, having its lid perforated, and sometimes decorated with figures and designs in open-work.
    • n censer One who formerly paid cense-money. See censure, n., 5.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Censer sens′ėr a pan in which incense is burned.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
For incenser, fr. OF. encensier, F. encensoir, fr. LL. incensarium, incensorium, fr. L. incensum, incense. See Incense, and cf. Incensory
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. censier, encensier (mod. encensoir)—Low L. incensorium—L. incendĕre, incensum, to burn.


In literature:

Censers are placed near the priests.
"The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria" by Morris Jastrow
Now and again there flitted past me a long-robed priest, to whom all bowed, and after him boys with swaying censers.
"Sir Ludar" by Talbot Baines Reed
Here, also, are sold cups and censers, and all sorts of utensils used in churches.
"Fred Markham in Russia" by W. H. G. Kingston
In one hand she held a sword, and in the other a censer.
"King Arthur and His Knights" by Maude L. Radford
The censers were swinging.
"Fil and Filippa" by John Stuart Thomson
The gods must have their incense from the right kind of censer.
"Visions and Revisions" by John Cowper Powys
Angels swing censers above her head.
"Notes and Queries, Number 212, November 19, 1853" by Various
And the sun shone without, while within the censers were waved and the Mass was celebrated.
"Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen" by Hans Christian Andersen
Or sometimes the incense is lighted and put in the censer by one of the priests employed.
"Moon Lore" by Timothy Harley
A priest came, waving censers before the altar, and thick volumes of perfume ascended to the Blessed Virgin.
"The Land of The Blessed Virgin; Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia" by William Somerset Maugham

In poetry:

A sweet bell chimes; and a censer
Swings gleaming in the gloom;
The candles glimmer and denser
Rolls up the pale perfume.
"At Vespers" by Madison Julius Cawein
(Praise ye Rimmon, King of Kings,
Who ruleth Earth and Sky!
And again I bow as the censer swings
And the God Enthroned goes by.)
"Rimmon" by Rudyard Kipling
When the sun's great censer swings
In the hands that always be,
And the mists from thy watery rings
Go up like dust from the sea;
"To My Mother Earth" by George MacDonald
Nostrils, your careless breath that spend
Upon the stir and keep of pride,
What relish shall the censers send
Along the sanctuary side!
"The Habit Of Perfection" by Gerard Manley Hopkins
And Nature holds, in wood and field,
Her thousand sunlit censers still;
To spells of flower and shrub we yield
Against or with our will.
"Sweet Fern" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Now like a censer every flower's cup,
Swung to and fro exhales a dewy scent,
And all the voices of the night go up
In murmurs of content.
"Four Miles From Any Town" by David Gow

In news:

Marjorie Censer came to the Washington Post and its local business publication Capital Business in April 2010 to cover government contracting.
Giving a tour, he is preceded by a lit cigar that he is not actively smoking, much as the priest follows his censer.
In an Anglican church, a priest swings a censer back and forth, releasing wisps of aromatic smoke that linger in the air like spirits.