Origin Of The Word 'collect'

It is impossible to speak with confidence about the origin of the word

Collect. We find in old Services both Collecta and Collectio. It

might be conjectured that these were references to Books of Collects

bearing those names as their titles. But the explanations which have

been offered for a thousand years, though very various, do not include

that as a possibility. Some derive it from people,

(1) collected for worship:

(2) collected in the unity of the Church:

(3) having collectedness of mind.

Others from:

(4) the sense collected from Scripture:

(5) the desires collected from the congregation.


Canon Bright[1] decides in favour of (1) as the explanation of

Collecta, and (5) as that of Collectio, preferring the former as

the source of our English word Collect.

Canon Bright quotes Alcuin the Northumbrian boy, the York Scholar

(735-804), who became the most learned man in Europe, and the friend,

adviser, and teacher, of the great Emperor Charlemagne. Alcuin derived

the word from Collecta, an assembly for worship.

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