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[aps] /æps/
Architecture. a semicircular or polygonal termination or recess in a building, usually vaulted and used especially at the end of a choir in a church.
Astronomy. an apsis.
1815-25; variant of apsis
Related forms
[ap-si-dl] /ˈæp sɪ dl/ (Show IPA),
apsidally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for apse
  • The right-hand apse is covered by one of the red domes.
  • She had a little dog, and the dog crossed the apse with us.
  • For now, the crossing and the chapels around the apse are open, reached through a shed that runs through the nave.
  • Short transept arms and a semicircular apse subtly reinforce the cruciform shape of the building.
  • The east elevation is dominated by a rectangular apse.
British Dictionary definitions for apse


Also called apsis. a domed or vaulted semicircular or polygonal recess, esp at the east end of a church
(astronomy) another name for apsis (sense 1)
Derived Forms
apsidal (æpˈsaɪdəl; ˈæpsɪdəl) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Latin apsis, from Greek: a fitting together, arch, from haptein to fasten
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apse
"semicircular extension at the end of a church," 1846, from L. apsis "an arch, a vault," from Gk. hapsis (Ionic apsis) "loop, arch," originally "a fastening, felloe of a wheel," from haptein "fasten together;" the original sense in Gk. seems to have been the joining of the arcs to form a circle, especially in making a wheel. The architectural term is earlier attested in Eng. in the L. form (1706).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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apse in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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