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[sel-uh] /ˈsɛl ə/
noun, plural cellae
[sel-ee] /ˈsɛl i/ (Show IPA).
the principal enclosed chamber of a classical temple.
the entire central structure of a classical temple.
Also called naos.
Origin of cella
1670-80; < Latin: storeroom, shrine, akin to cēlāre to hide; see conceal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cella
Historical Examples
  • The thought comes into the mind that it is the cella of a temple with arches cut through its walls.

    Studies of Travel: Italy Edward A. Freeman
  • cella, the principal, often the only, apartment of a Greek or Roman temple.

    Architecture Thomas Roger Smith
  • Old Jason, at the same time, was standing before the little grove beside the steps leading to the cella.

    Complete Short Works Georg Ebers
  • In the cella, and also in the chamber behind, there were columns.

    Architecture Thomas Roger Smith
  • The peristyle was walled up, and arches were cut through the walls of the cella, exactly as in the great church of Syracuse.

  • The exterior of the building, including these columns, was about twice the width of the cella.

    Architecture Thomas Roger Smith
  • Inside were three small rooms, entered by separate doors from the cella.

  • Both the portico and the cella no doubt had a coffered ceiling.

  • Against the rear wall of the cella stands a large pedestal, three times as long as it is broad.

  • There were also in the walls of the cella four niches for statues, of which two have been found.

British Dictionary definitions for cella


noun (pl) -lae (-liː)
the inner room of a classical temple, esp the room housing the statue of a deity Also called naos
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: room, shrine; see cell1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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