chan·​cel | \ ˈchan(t)-səl How to pronounce chancel (audio) \

Definition of chancel

: the part of a church containing the altar and seats for the clergy and choir

Examples of chancel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Apart from the loss of the original chancel, Sir John Soane’s Marylebone church has survived complete and is of great national architectural and historical significance. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 Practically every surface of its 74-foot-long sanctuary and chancel is covered in gilded icons and ornaments, geometric stained glass, and tiny figurines. Jenny Xie, Curbed, 24 Mar. 2021 Even with so many parishioners absent Sunday, the pews were packed as Mena followed the procession toward the chancel, behind the altar server holding up a red processional cross and the deacon carrying a red and gold Bible. Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2019 The event will feature love songs by composers ranging from George Gershwin to Andrew Lloyd Weber and Leonard Bernstein, performed by the church's chancel choir. Linda Mcintosh,, 8 Feb. 2018 And that was a shame, because Bella Voce (arrayed in ever-shifting configurations across the visually handsome chancel) sang with exceptional musicality, expressivity and fervor, with solo vocal contributions and instrumental work to match. John Von Rhein,, 25 Oct. 2017 Diamonds, by contrast, could have represented the upper class in French decks, as paving stones used in the chancels of churches were diamond shaped, and such stones marked the graves of the aristocratic dead. Adrienne Bernhard, The Atlantic, 24 Aug. 2017 Detroit Free Press Standing in the pews at the Shrine of the Black of Madonna church on Detroit's west side, Diana Nilaja Stewart gazes at a painting that stretches high in the chancel — a black Jesus and black Madonna. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 27 Apr. 2017 The Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe is hosting a free concert June 4 performed by its chancel choir before its members take off for a singing tour in Scotland this month. Linda Mcintosh,, 1 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chancel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chancel

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chancel

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin cancellus lattice, from Latin cancelli; from the latticework enclosing it — more at cancel

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Time Traveler for chancel

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The first known use of chancel was in the 14th century

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Statistics for chancel

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chancel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of chancel

: the part of a church that contains the altar and seats for the priest and choir

More from Merriam-Webster on chancel

Britannica English: Translation of chancel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chancel


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