The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Tabernacle \Tab"er*na*cle\, n. [F., fr. L. tabernaculum, dim. of
taberna nut. See Tabern.]
1. A slightly built or temporary habitation; especially, a
Dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob. --Heb.
Orange trees planted in the ground, and secured in
winter with a wooden tabernacle and stoves.
2. (Jewish Antiq.) A portable structure of wooden framework
covered with curtains, which was carried through the
wilderness in the Israelitish exodus, as a place of
sacrifice and worship. --Ex. xxvi.
3. Hence, the Jewish temple; sometimes, any other place for
worship. --Acts xv. 16.
4. Figuratively: The human body, as the temporary abode of
Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle. --2 Pet.
5. Any small cell, or like place, in which some holy or
precious things was deposited or kept. Specifically:
(a) The ornamental receptacle for the pyx, or for the
consecrated elements, whether a part of a building or
(b) A niche for the image of a saint, or for any sacred
painting or sculpture.
(c) Hence, a work of art of sacred subject, having a
partially architectural character, as a solid frame
resting on a bracket, or the like.
(d) A tryptich for sacred imagery.
(e) A seat or stall in a choir, with its canopy.
6. (Naut.) A boxlike step for a mast with the after side
open, so that the mast can be lowered to pass under
Feast of Tabernacles (Jewish Antiq.), one of the three
principal festivals of the Jews, lasting seven days,
during which the people dwelt in booths formed of the
boughs of trees, in commemoration of the habitation of
their ancestors in similar dwellings during their
pilgrimage in the wilderness.
Tabernacle work, rich canopy work like that over the head
of niches, used over seats or stalls, or over sepulchral
monuments. --Oxf. Gloss.