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[chap-uh l] /ˈtʃæp əl/
a private or subordinate place of prayer or worship; oratory.
a separately dedicated part of a church, or a small independent churchlike edifice, devoted to special services.
a room or building for worship in an institution, palace, etc.
(in Great Britain) a place of worship for members of various dissenting Protestant churches, as Baptists or Methodists.
a separate place of public worship dependent on the church of a parish.
a religious service in a chapel:
Don't be late for chapel!
a funeral home or the room in which funeral services are held.
a choir or orchestra of a chapel, court, etc.
a print shop or printing house.
an association of employees in a print shop for dealing with their interests, problems, etc.
verb (used with object), chapeled, chapeling or (especially British) chapelled, chapelling.
Nautical. to maneuver (a sailing vessel taken aback) by the helm alone until the wind can be recovered on the original tack.
(in England) belonging to any of various dissenting Protestant sects.
1175-1225; Middle English chapele < Old French < Late Latin cappella hooded cloak, equivalent to capp(a) (see cap1) + -ella diminutive suffix; first applied to the sanctuary where the cloak of St. Martin (4th-century bishop of Tours) was kept as a relic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chapel
  • It is kept in a sumptuous subterraneous chapel in this church.
  • There is a major difference, however, between the museum and the chapel.
  • One tent, the largest, serves as a makeshift chapel.
  • The bombing has been halted and the firing zone invaded by local protesters, including some who have built a wooden chapel.
  • The chapel overlooks a manicured garden area and offers outside ceremonies when weather permits.
  • The chapel was relocated to one of the adobe buildings, with the others being used for housing, agriculture or production.
  • The group entered a tiny side chapel and the resident architect retrieved a big skeleton key out of her pocket.
  • His shrine is there held in veneration, and a chapel built in his honour.
  • He has also set up a makeshift chapel to offer spiritual support.
  • The chapel bears an ancient, weathered stone plaque with an inscription leading to st.
British Dictionary definitions for chapel


a place of Christian worship in a larger building, esp a place set apart, with a separate altar, in a church or cathedral
a similar place of worship in or attached to a large house or institution, such as a college, hospital or prison
a church subordinate to a parish church
(in Britain)
  1. a Nonconformist place of worship
  2. Nonconformist religious practices or doctrine
  3. (as adjective): he is chapel, but his wife is church Compare church (sense 8)
(in Scotland) a Roman Catholic church
the members of a trade union in a particular newspaper office, printing house, etc
a printing office
Word Origin
C13: from Old French chapele, from Late Latin cappella, diminutive of cappa cloak (see cap); originally denoting the sanctuary where the cloak of St Martin of Tours was kept as a relic
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 chapel

early 13c., from Old French chapele (12c., Modern French chapelle), from Medieval Latin cappella "chapel, sanctuary for relics," literally "little cape," diminutive of Late Latin cappa "cape" (see cap (n.)); by tradition, originally in reference to the sanctuary in France in which the miraculous cape of St. Martin of Tours, patron saint of France, was preserved; meaning extended in most European languages to "any sanctuary." (While serving Rome as a soldier deployed in Gaul, Martin cut his military coat in half to share it with a ragged beggar. That night, Martin dreamed Christ wearing the half-cloak; the half Martin kept was the relic.)

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chapel in the Bible

a holy place or sanctuary, occurs only in Amos 7:13, where one of the idol priests calls Bethel "the king's chapel."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for chapel

small, intimate place of worship. The name was originally applied to the shrine in which the kings of France preserved the cape (late Latin cappella, diminutive of cappa) of St. Martin. By tradition, this garment had been torn into two pieces by St. Martin of Tours (c. 316-397) that he might share it with a ragged beggar; later Martin had a vision of Christ wearing the half cape, and it was preserved as a relic and carried about by the Frankish kings on their military campaigns. By extension, any sanctuary housing relics was called a chapel and the priest cappellanus, or chaplain. By a further extension, all places of worship that were not mother churches, including a large number of miscellaneous foundations, came to be known as chapels. Oratories, places of private worship attached to royal residences, also were termed chapels. Thus the Sainte Chapelle (1248), the palace chapel at Paris, was built by St. Louis IX to enshrine the relic of what was thought to be the Crown of Thorns, which he had brought from Constantinople. In the next century, other saintes chapelles were founded by princes of the French royal house at Bourges, Riom, and elsewhere.

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