Sin eater

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a man who (according to a former practice in England) for a small gratuity ate a piece of bread laid on the chest of a dead person, whereby he was supposed to have taken the sins of the dead person upon himself.

See also: Sin

References in periodicals archive ?
Also in Leo's category are The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle (Corgi), Seed by Lisa Heath-field (Electric Monkey), I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Walker Books), The Sin Eater by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic) and The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (David Fickling Books).
She is the daughter of the Sin Eater who bizarrely eats' people's sins in the form of specific foods to absolve them as part of the funeral rites.
THE SIN EATER Film 4 11pm Heath Ledger stars as Alex Bernier, a member of an obscure order of priests in this religious thriller.
Its earliest record is a manuscript from the middle of the seventeenth century (The Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme) which mentions the Welsh custom of a sin eater consuming a piece of bread over the corpse in order to take upon himself the sins of the deceased.
Famed for her books The Sin Eater, The Birds of the Air and The Clothes in the Wardrobe, she was also hugely respected in writing circles as Anna Haycraft, fiction editor of Gerald Duckworth & Co, the publishing house run by her husband Colin Haycraft.
Film critics and historians say it would be misguided if The Last Sin Eater, which has just one Welsh actor, was considered an accurate depiction of the Welsh.
5Since then he's been in a string of less than world-beating flicks, including A Knight's Tale, Ned Kelly and The Sin Eater.
The Liverpool-born writer picked up an Arts Council of Wales Literature Award for The Sin Eater and was short-listed for a Booker Prize in 1982 for The 27th Kingdom.
THE SIN EATER (15) - Young priest takes on the forces of evil in a religious thriller that's dull and daft in equal measure.
Also available: Ned Kelly (15), The Sin Eater (15).
10(-) The Sin Eater (15) Devil to pay in a load of Vatican nonsense.
But Heath Ledger and Mark Addy make an unlikely pair of Catholic priests investigating an immortal being called a Sin Eater.