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1. often Tabernacle Bible The portable sanctuary in which the Jews housed the Ark of the Covenant during their years in the desert.
2. often Tabernacle A case or box on a church altar containing the consecrated host and wine of the Eucharist.
3. A place of worship.
4. A niche for a statue or relic.
5. Nautical A boxlike support in which the heel of a mast is stepped.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin tabernāculum, from Latin, tent, diminutive of taberna, hut; see tavern.]
tab′er·nac′u·lar (-năk′yə-lər) adj.