Definition of chapel
- a nonconformist chapel
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
a wedding chapel in Las Vegas
Church services will be held in the chapel this week.
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.
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."
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
: 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
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