chap·​el | \ˈcha-pəl \

Definition of chapel 

1 : a subordinate or private place of worship: such as

a : a place of worship serving a residence or institution

b : a small house of worship usually associated with a main church

c : a room or recess in a church for meditation and prayer or small religious services

2 : a place of worship used by a Christian group other than an established church a nonconformist chapel

3 : a choir of singers belonging to a chapel

4 : a chapel service or assembly at a school or college

5 : an association of the employees in a printing office

6a : funeral home

b : a room for funeral services in a funeral home

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Did You Know?

Chapel is ultimately derived from the Late Latin word cappa, meaning "cloak." How did we get from a garment to a building? The answer to this question has to do with a shrine created to hold the sacred cloak of St. Martin of Tours. In Medieval Latin, this shrine was called "cappella" (from a diminutive of cappa meaning "short cloak or cape") in reference to the relic it contained. Later, the meaning of "cappella" broadened to include any building that housed a sacred relic, and eventually to a place of worship. Old French picked up the term as "chapele," which in turn passed into English as "chapel" in the 13th century. In case you are wondering, the term a cappella, meaning "without instrumental accompaniment," entered English from Italian, where it literally means "in chapel style."

Examples of chapel in a Sentence

a wedding chapel in Las Vegas Church services will be held in the chapel this week.

Recent Examples on the Web

Inside the chapel, Louis was christened in the Lily Font. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See the First Photo of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Children All Together," 9 July 2018 Services at the chapel are free and open to anyone. New York Times, "Visiting Windsor Before the Royal Wedding: A Guide," 29 Dec. 2017 The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the royals at the entrance to the chapel., "William and Kate’s third child, Prince Louis, christened," 9 July 2018 Among them are Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, who will drive her daughter to the chapel, but not Markle's father, Thomas Markle, who was to walk her down the aisle but was too sick to attend. NBC News, "Royal wedding: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry to wed in Windsor," 19 May 2018 The pair will travel to the castle together, driving up the long walk before stopping to let Ragland out and pick up some of the bridal party before continuing to the chapel. Angela Dewan, CNN, "Doria Ragland: Meghan Markle's mother by her side on wedding day," 19 May 2018 Before the ceremony, Harry and brother William walked together from the castle to the chapel, shaking hands with onlookers. Lorraine Ali,, "A royal wedding TV spectacle where the new world met the old and showed a rethinking of the monarchy," 19 May 2018 Students at Ethel Walker School were moved to a chapel on campus after a report of a gas leak at the school Tuesday morning, a school official said. Mikaela Porter,, "Gas Leak At Ethel Walker School In Simsbury," 15 May 2018 Finn’s rabbit imitation had come to him during a visit to chapel. John L’heureux, The New Yorker, "The Long Black Line," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chapel.' 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 chapel

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chapel

Middle English, from Anglo-French chapele, from Medieval Latin cappella, from diminutive of Late Latin cappa cloak; from the cloak of St. Martin of Tours preserved as a sacred relic in a chapel built for that purpose

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Statistics for chapel

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for chapel

The first known use of chapel was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for chapel



English Language Learners Definition of chapel

: a small church

: a room or small building that is used for private church services or prayer by a family or group

: a room or area in a church that is used for prayer or small religious services


chap·​el | \ˈcha-pəl \

Kids Definition of chapel

1 : a building or a room or place for prayer or special religious services

2 : a religious service or assembly held in a school or college

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Comments on chapel

What made you want to look up chapel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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