nar·​thex | \ ˈnär-ˌtheks How to pronounce narthex (audio) \

Definition of narthex

1 : the portico of an ancient church
2 : a vestibule leading to the nave of a church

Examples of narthex in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Damage can be seen on the bottom of a column of precious Aquitaine marble in the narthex. USA TODAY, "Venice flood damage to St. Mark's Cathedral totals more than $5 million," 24 Dec. 2019 This year, the community will be invited to come sing along with the Choir on the choruses - and scores will be on sale in the narthex for those who want to participate. Houston Chronicle, "Dec. 5-15: Groups ready to entertain with holiday performances in northwest Houston," 3 Dec. 2019 When the fire was over, the only remaining parts of the church were the stone walls, a Civil War memorial in the narthex and the bell tower. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Five Places Where You Can Still See Remnants of the Great Chicago Fire," 25 Jan. 2018 There are prayer cards for Father Conway in a narthex rack. Bill Leukhardt,, "Seeking Posthumous Navy Cross Award For Saving, Praying With Sailors At Sea," 5 Sep. 2017 Donations can be left in the parish office during business hours or the narthex before or after weekend Masses. Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Arrowhead-Pewaukee News: Sept. 6, 2017," 25 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'narthex.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of narthex

circa 1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for narthex

Late Greek narthēx, from Greek, giant fennel, cane, casket

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about narthex

Time Traveler for narthex

Time Traveler

The first known use of narthex was circa 1673

See more words from the same year

Statistics for narthex

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Narthex.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on narthex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with narthex Encyclopedia article about narthex

Comments on narthex

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


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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