1 of 2

noun (1)

: the hub of a wheel


2 of 2

noun (2)

: the main part of the interior of a church
especially : the long narrow central hall in a cruciform church that rises higher than the aisles flanking it to form a clerestory

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
In the nave of the Roman parish church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, a plaque was erected in 2010. Julian Bell, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2023 Small figures of visitors moving along the great concourse that is the nave. Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, 7 Nov. 2022 At the service, people secured their standing spots throughout the nave after entering the church. Mariya Manzhos, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2022 Large photographs that document the human toll of the siege of Bucha lean on easels inside the church’s bright white, mostly empty nave. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Aug. 2022 Eight gospel singers, members of Britain’s Ascension Choir, formed a semicircle in the nave of Westminster Abbey and delivered a heavenly musical version of Psalm 47, verses 6 and 7. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 6 May 2023 Inside, the Queen Consort accepted a traditional nosegay bouquet and processed with King Charles up the nave as the service began. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2023 The pair played a more public role on Friday, walking into the church on their own, holding hands and proceeding down the long nave of the cathedral ahead of more senior royals. Danica Kirka,, 3 June 2022 In the nave: a stage, thumping bass, a haze of smoke, and a shadowy figure at the pulpit, presumably Fatboy Slim. Sheila Yasmin Marikar, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nave.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English nafu; akin to Old English nafela navel

Noun (2)

Medieval Latin navis, from Latin, ship; akin to Old English nōwend sailor, Greek naus ship, Sanskrit nau

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1673, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nave was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near nave

Cite this Entry

“Nave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: the hub of a wheel


2 of 2 noun
: the long central main part of a church

More from Merriam-Webster on nave

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