1. obsolete A thief or pickpocket who steals from people during church services. "Autem" is an obsolete slang word for church, and "diver" in this sense is obsolete slang for a pickpocket. The autem divers move stealthily among the congregation, lifting the purses and coins from those focused on the sermon.
2. obsolete A lay officer of the church in charge of the poor and needy. "Autem" is an obsolete slang word for church, and "diver" in this sense is slang for one who lives in a cellar (i.e., among the poor). The autem diver oversees the distribution of bread to the poorest of the parish.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.