• WordNet 3.6
    • n surplice a loose-fitting white ecclesiastical vestment with wide sleeves
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Surplice (Eccl) A white garment worn over another dress by the clergy of the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and certain other churches, in some of their ministrations.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n surplice A loose-fitting vestment of white linen, with broad and full sleeves, worn over the cassock by clergymen and choristers in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. It is worn at almost all offices except when replaced by the alb. In England it is also worn on certain days known as surplice-days by the fellows and students at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The surplice was originally a variety of the alb, differing from it by the greater fullness of the sleeves. Early representations of the alb show, however, that it was often nearly as full in shape as the surplice. The name surplice (superpelliceum) first occurs in the eleventh century, and was derived from the practice of wearing this vestment over a pelisse, or dress of fur—a circumstance which also explains its great breadth and fullness. In its more ancient form the surplice reached the feet, and it retained till recently nearly its full length. At present, in the Anglican Church, it reaches to the knee or lower, while in the Roman Catholic Church it is usually much shorter than this and is ornamented with lace or is made of lacelike lawn or other material. The short or Italian surplice, especially as worn by choristers, is called a cotta. See rochet.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Surplice sur′plis a white linen garment worn over the cassock by clerks of all degrees, most commonly used for the service of the choir, and also employed, along with the stole, by priests in the administration of the sacraments and in preaching
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. surplis, OF. surpeiz, LL. superpellicium,; super, over + pellicium, pelliceum, a robe of fur, L. pellicius, made of skins. See Pelisse
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. surplis—Low L. superpellicium, an over-garment.


In literature:

We girls used to wonder what the lovers talked about while they waited for the return of the surpliced traitor.
"An Encore" by Margaret Deland
He soon entered, dressed in his surplice, and took his place within the chancel.
"Victor's Triumph" by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
I just naturally looked for a gown or surplice.
"An Orkney Maid" by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
GILBERT J. FRENCH, Bolton, Lancashire, has prepared his usual large Supply of SURPLICES, in Anticipation of EASTER.
"Notes and Queries, Number 233, April 15, 1854" by Various
Oh, how he envied the boys in their white surplices, who were allowed to kneel near him.
"The Son of His Mother" by Clara Viebig
Nobody is marching now with candles in his hand and a surplice on his back.
"Waterloo" by Émile Erckmann
They do not wear surplices, although they sit close to the choir.
"The Boy's Voice" by J. Spencer Curwen
Some of them had on long white cloaks, after the fashion of surplices with capes, as worn by our canons.
"The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Vol 1 (of 2)" by Bernal Diaz del Castillo
GILBERT J. FRENCH, Bolton, Lancashire, has prepared his usual large Supply of SURPLICES, in Anticipation of EASTER.
"Notes and Queries, Number 228, March 11, 1854" by Various
After mass, I went into the choir, threw on a surplice, and joined in Winter's Lament.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, No. 359, September 1845" by Various

In poetry:

It fitted the Feast: 'twas a symbol,
And earth wore the surplice at morn,
As pure as the vale's stainless lily
For Mary, the sinlessly born;
"The Immaculate Conception" by Abram Joseph Ryan
Fell the snow on the festival's vigil
And surpliced the city in white;
I wonder who wove the pure flakelets?
Ask the Virgin, or God, or the night.
"The Immaculate Conception" by Abram Joseph Ryan
From the hearts of the true and the faithful,
In accents of joy or of woe,
Who kissed in their faith and their fervor
The Festival's surplice of snow.
"The Immaculate Conception" by Abram Joseph Ryan
Was it wronging her Christ-Son, I wonder,
For the Christian to honor her so?
Ought her statue pass out of His temple?
Ask the Feast in its surplice of snow.
"The Immaculate Conception" by Abram Joseph Ryan
For Mary, conceived in all sinlessness;
And the sun, thro' the clouds of the East,
With the brightest and fairest of flashes,
Fringed the surplice of white for the Feast.
"The Immaculate Conception" by Abram Joseph Ryan
Waves, are ye priests in surplices of gray,
Fringed by the fingers of the breeze with white?
Is the beach your altar where ye come to pray,
With the sea's ritual, every day and night?
And the suns and stars your only altar light?
"Sea Reverie" by Abram Joseph Ryan

In news:

Dark florals , like Forever 21 Floral Print Surplice Dress with Belt, $24.80, and Zara Jewel Print Dress, $99.90,, are perfect for this time of year—especially paired with low-rise booties.