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

Several tables in the chapel’s entranceway displayed tokens of McNamara’s life and career. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Capital Gazette's John McNamara eulogized as exemplary reporter who loved sports, community journalism," 10 July 2018 Friends of Joshua’s and friends of his parents joined family members, adults, faculty and staff of the student, crowded into a chapel and hallway and waited patiently to hug Wendy Acosta and members of the family. Deborah Kadin,, "'We stand with you': Hundreds attend memorial service for Northlake Middle School student," 21 May 2018 Young will also perform the play on March 2, 6 p.m., in the chapel at Judson College in Marion. Greg Garrison,, "Judson professor brings Fannie Lou Hamer story to life," 12 Feb. 2018 People get married in the chapel, view paintings and sculptures and stroll the grounds. Ron Dungan, azcentral, "The story behind Ted DeGrazia and how he became a famous Arizona artist," 16 Jan. 2016 Halili's killing came a few weeks after a Catholic priest was shot and killed while preparing to celebrate Mass in a village chapel in northern Nueva Ecija province. Fox News, "Philippine city mayor gunned down during flag-raising event," 2 July 2018 So while her wedding will take place in a chapel that has hosted other major nuptials and has a capacity of 800, this one is likely to have a more limited guest list. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Who Will Pay for Princess Eugenie's Wedding?," 26 June 2018 Lord Ivar will marry his partner, James Coyle, in a private chapel in Devon. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Queen Elizabeth's Cousin Will Become the First Royal in History to Have a Gay Wedding," 17 June 2018 The prerequisite miracles ensued and in short order a chapel had been built, followed by the construction of a Benedictine monastery in 976. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 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

14 Oct 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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