chalice and the Holy Grail

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Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
I came across the term chalice when reading off an article describing the secret gathering/meeting a.k.a conclave held to elect the new pope or the Pontiff in this case. I was wondering if these two terms can be used interchangeably or are somehow related, perhaps more on the usage. I was so drawn into this a few days ago. Comments please.
  • Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    A chalice is a type of cup with a foot and stem.
    It is much the same as a gobblet.


    Chalices are used to hold wine at Christian Eucharist or Holy Communion services.

    The Holy Grail is a particular object.
    It is the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper.
    Christians believe that at the Last Supper the wine in Jesus's cup was changed into Jesus's blood.
    The exact nature of this change is the topic of extensive theological discussion and dispute.

    Holy Communion/Eucharist services commemorate the Last Supper.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Not much to add to Brioche's excellent explanation except to note that holy grail (lower case) also has a figurative meaning. As Wikipedia explains:
    This or that "holy grail" is seen as the distant, all-but-unobtainable ultimate goal for a person, organization, or field to achieve. For instance, cold fusion or anti-gravity devices are sometimes characterized as the "holy grail" of applied physics. (See: list of holy grails)


    Senior Member
    American English
    Brioche said:
    The Holy Grail is a particular object.
    It is the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper.
    Many people think the Holy Grail is the cup used by Jesus. But several reputable scholars believe it might have been the patten or plate that held the bread at the Last Supper. Others, of course, à la Dan Brown have other ideas!

    What is certain is that chalice and grail do not mean the same thing.
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