: a projecting part of a building (such as a church) that is usually semicircular in plan and vaulted

Examples of apse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because even the most subtle details matter in viewing the panels, the architects moved the entire apse wall of the chapel forward by 6 inches, the slight adjustment creating a visual gap between the shadow from the sofit above and the top edge of the painting. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, 24 June 2021 The intricate Byzantine mosaics that decorate the eastern apse of the hilltop Cathedral of San Giusto in Trieste, Italy, depict two lithe archangels, Gabriel and Michael. Adrian Woolfson, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 The apse was transported, stone by stone, to the Cloisters in the late 1940s as a long-term loan from the Spanish government. New York Times, 3 Feb. 2022 The show is installed in the museum’s Fuentidueña Chapel Gallery, a space defined by a full-scale architectural work, the complete apse of the 12th-century church of San Martín from the town of Fuentidueña in central northern Spain. New York Times, 3 Feb. 2022 One bulging wall, poking out into a courtyard like a chapel’s apse, is actually a conversation nook for resident artists. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 23 Sep. 2021 But another priest, Don Mario Carminati at the church of San Giuseppe in the Bergamo suburb of Seriate, refused such rites, instead piling up coffins in his aisles and apse. Ed Vulliamy, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 The walls of the cathedral’s apse—the most sacred part of the building—were painted in the 10th or early 11th century with portraits believed to represent the Twelve Apostles, reports Jesse Holth for ARTnews. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 July 2021 As Hurriyet reports, Polat and his team uncovered the apse near the station’s waiting platforms. Isis Davis-Marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


shortening of apsis, perhaps by analogy with base entry 1 : basis

First Known Use

1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of apse was in 1715

Dictionary Entries Near apse

Cite this Entry

“Apse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apse. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a part of a building (as a church) that sticks out from one end of the building, is usually semicircular, has an arched roof, and is often richly decorated especially in Gothic churches

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