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chancel

[chan-suh l, chahn-] /ˈtʃæn səl, ˈtʃɑn-/
noun
1.
the space about the altar of a church, usually enclosed, for the clergy and other officials.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin cancellus lattice, railing or screen before the altar of a church, Latin cancell(ī) (plural) lattice, railing, grating; see cancel
Related forms
chanceled, chancelled, adjective
subchancel, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for chancel
  • Tantamount to the rood-screen of a church, which separates the chancel from the rest of the building.
  • The screen between the nave and chancel, where the rood or crucifix was elevated.
  • To the former was attached a charming fourteenth century chapel, the chancel of which was towards the street.
  • The side areas of the chancel are at the floor level of the nave and contain wooden pews for use by the choir.
  • The church was soon rehabilitated with a new roof, new interior, and chancel addition.
  • There is a dome over the chancel and altar which is located in the southeast octagonal end.
  • The east gable contains a round window plus an entrance into the chancel.
  • The chancel was surmounted with a dome, which is still in good preservation.
  • The floors, the benches, even the chancel and pulpit were packed almost to suffocation with them.
  • Recessed into the apse is a raised chancel where the alter and pulpit would be located.
British Dictionary definitions for chancel

chancel

/ˈtʃɑːnsəl/
noun
1.
the part of a church containing the altar, sanctuary, and choir, usually separated from the nave and transepts by a screen
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Latin cancellī (plural) lattice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for chancel
n.

c.1300, "part of the church around the altar," from Old French chancel, from Late Latin cancellus "lattice," from Latin cancelli (plural) "grating, bars" (see cancel); sense extended in Late Latin from the lattice-work that separated the choir from the nave in a church to the space itself.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for chancel

portion of a church that contains the choir, often at the eastern end. Before modern changes in church practice, only clergy and choir members were permitted in the chancel. The name derives from the Latin word for "lattice," describing the screen that during some eras of church history divided the chancel from the nave and crossing.

Learn more about chancel with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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