chancel

noun

chan·​cel ˈchan(t)-səl How to pronounce chancel (audio)
: 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 Plumes of incense have wafted around the organ pipes and through the choir’s chancel in Catholic Church ceremonies for centuries, while in the 19th century theaters sometimes distributed scented fans to help with body odor issues. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 27 Feb. 2024 The choir was in the chancel right next to the Communion rail, and a lady knelt for Communion, then couldn’t get back up. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2023 In one chancel window, a few panes of colored glass had somehow survived unbroken, gleaming in a wooden lattice. Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, 15 June 2022 At the front of the sanctuary, towering pipes flank the chancel, and at the back, hundreds of pipes form a 3D sculpture worthy of Marcel Duchamp. Dirk Sutro, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Jan. 2023 With the organ console hidden in a chancel niche, the audience could watch on a large projection screen. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 9 Jan. 2022 Its gray-and-white-frocked frères filed into church at a quarter after eleven, taking their seats on either side of the airy chancel. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 29 Aug. 2022 Her husband-to-be, Charles S. Andrews, waited for her inside at the chancel rail. April White, BostonGlobe.com, 7 June 2022 In nearby Santa María Huiramangaro, restorers began stripping whitewash from the church’s 16th-century altarpiece in 2014 after villagers approached I.N.A.H. with concerns about cracks in the chancel walls. New York Times, 11 Feb. 2022

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near chancel

Cite this Entry

“Chancel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chancel. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

chancel

noun
chan·​cel ˈchan(t)-səl How to pronounce chancel (audio)
: the part of a church containing the altar and seats for the clergy and choir

More from Merriam-Webster on chancel

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!