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
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

Naomi even took a selfie while LITERALLY watching the choir in the chapel, so that just redefines the word 'iconic' for the rest of us. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Inside Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding Reception, After Some Guests Break the Strict Social Media Ban," 13 Oct. 2018 He was also seen getting silly with seven-year-old cousin Savannah Philips in the chapel, reminding us of their mischievous moments at Trooping the Colour earlier this year. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince George Skipping at Princess Eugenie's Wedding Is a Whole Mood," 12 Oct. 2018 In contrast, Meghan remains close to her mother, who was with her throughout her wedding day and sat close to the royal family in the chapel. Marcia Moody, Town & Country, "The Tricky Relationship Between the Royal Family and Their In-laws," 29 July 2018 The Queen Mother, Harry's great-grandmother, is also buried in the chapel beside her husband, George VI. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Royal wedding: Inside the chapel where Prince Harry, Meghan Markle will say 'I do'," 9 May 2018 The lines to visit the chapel and the historic museums are extremely long as well. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is coming to Houston, sort of," 30 May 2018 Cappella Palatina, a 12th century chapel and the home of dazzling mosaics, was built for Norman kings who once ruled the island. Alice Short,, "Avoiding pain and finding only pleasure in Sicily," 27 May 2018 Harry took his place in the chapel and tried to catch the eye of his future mother-in-law, Doria Ragland., "After generations of aristocratic weddings, one reflects modern Britain," 19 May 2018 Leupold said a woman once interrupted a service by sending her avatar flying over the chapel and proclaiming Satan's love. Samantha Swindler,, "A virtual reality baptism will strengthen Oregon man's faith," 19 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

7 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on chapel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chapel

Spanish Central: Translation of chapel

Nglish: Translation of chapel for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about chapel

Comments on chapel

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a person who helps groups work together

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