[Hail, Mary! ] [Ave, 2 syl.). The first two words
of the angel's salutation to the Virgin Mary. (Luke i. 28.) In the
Roman Catholic Church the phrase is applied to an invocation to the
Virgin beginning with those words; and also to the smaller beads of a
rosary, the larger ones being termed pater-nosters.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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