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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for choirs
  • Nuns sang unseen beyond the altar and people flocked to hear their hidden choirs.
  • The big names in economics, with all the baggage they carry, will carry on preaching to their respective choirs in the press.
  • And the banded choirs of music: all those that do and know.
  • Its gorgeous harmonic tensions make it an instantly recognizable, accessible staple of high-school and professional choirs alike.
  • There was the crowd-pleasing trio of marching bands, gospel choirs, and acrobats.
  • The choirs will sing during the signing, and following it there will be another trumpet fanfare.
  • Along with buying recordings of worship songs and hymns, users can create and download sheet music for church bands and choirs.
  • Waco students recently made all-state band and choirs.
  • The shopping and dining district will also feature school choirs and bands performing on the dock stage.
  • Unless noted, church choirs are featured in church concerts.
British Dictionary definitions for choirs


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 choirs



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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