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1590s, "study in a cloister," from Medieval Latin carula "small study in a cloister," of unknown origin; perhaps from Latin corolla "little crown, garland," used in various senses of "ring" (e.g. of Stonehenge: "þis Bretons renged about þe feld, þe karole of þe stones beheld," 1330); extended to precincts and spaces enclosed by rails, etc. Specific sense of "private cubicle in a library" is from 1919.
Carrel Car·rel (kə-rěl', kār'əl), Alexis. 1873-1944.
French-born American surgeon and biologist. He won a 1912 Nobel Prize for his work on vascular ligature and grafting of blood vessels and organs.
cubicle or study for reading and literary work; the word is derived from the Middle English carole, "round dance," or "carol." The term originally referred to carrels in the north cloister walk of a Benedictine monastery and today designates study cubicles in libraries. Carrels are first recorded in the 13th century at Westminster Abbey, London, though they probably existed from the late years of the 12th century.