|1.||a place of Christian worship in a larger building, esp a place set apart, with a separate altar, in a church or cathedral|
|2.||a similar place of worship in or attached to a large house or institution, such as a college, hospital or prison|
|3.||a church subordinate to a parish church|
|a. a Nonconformist place of worship|
|b. Nonconformist religious practices or doctrine|
|c. Compare church (as adjective): he is chapel, but his wife is church|
|5.||(in Scotland) a Roman Catholic church|
|6.||the members of a trade union in a particular newspaper office, printing house, etc|
|7.||a printing office|
|[C13: from Old French chapele, from Late Latin cappella, diminutive of cappa cloak (see |
a holy place or sanctuary, occurs only in Amos 7:13, where one of the idol priests calls Bethel "the king's 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 Britannica.com.