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[kwahyuh r] /kwaɪər/
a company of singers, especially an organized group employed in church service.
any group of musicians or musical instruments; a musical company, or band, or a division of one:
string choir.
  1. the part of a church occupied by the singers of the choir.
  2. the part of a cruciform church east of the crossing.
(in medieval angelology) one of the orders of angels.
professed to recite or chant the divine office:
a choir monk.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to sing or sound in chorus.
Origin of choir
1250-1300; Middle English quer < Old French cuer < Latin chorus chorus; replacing Old English chor choir < Latin
Related forms
choirlike, adjective
Can be confused
choir, quire. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for choir
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was stated that at the Cathedral the civic procession “passed along the rush-strewed pavement into the choir.”

    Norfolk Annals Charles Mackie
  • He could hear the music of the organ, and presently the choir began to sing an anthem.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • As the church of one of the two great preaching orders, it had a nave large beyond all proportion to its choir.

    Mornings in Florence John Ruskin
  • I wish you'd commence to-night, instead of choir practice night.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • The Pulgars ever after held the right to sit in the choir of the mosque-church during the celebration of High Mass.

    The Moors in Spain Stanley Lane-Poole
British Dictionary definitions for choir


an organized group of singers, esp for singing in church services
  1. the part of a cathedral, abbey, or church in front of the altar, lined on both sides with benches, and used by the choir and clergy Compare chancel
  2. (as modifier): choir stalls
a number of instruments of the same family playing together: a brass choir
Also called choir organ. one of the manuals on an organ controlling a set of soft sweet-toned pipes Compare great (sense 21), swell (sense 16)
any of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology
Archaic spelling quire
Derived Forms
choirlike, adjective
Word Origin
C13 quer, from Old French cuer, from Latin chorus
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 choir

c.1300, queor "part of the church where the choir sings," from Old French cuer, quer "choir of a church (architectural); chorus of singers" (13c., Modern French choeur), from Latin chorus "choir" (see chorus). Meaning "band of singers" is c.1400, quyre. Re-spelled mid-17c. on Latin model.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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