predella

predella

[pri-del-uh; Italian pre-del-lah]
noun, plural predelle [pri-del-ee; Italian pre-del-le] . Fine Arts.
the base of an altarpiece, often decorated with small paintings or reliefs.

Origin:
1840–50; < Italian < Langobardic *predel, *pretel, derivative of *pret- board < Germanic *bret- (> Old High German brët (German Brett), Old English, Old Saxon bred board, plank; akin to board); conformed in It to the diminutive suffix -ella -elle

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World English Dictionary
predella (prɪˈdɛlə, Italian preˈdɛlla)
 
n , pl -le
1.  a painting or sculpture or a series of small paintings or sculptures in a long narrow strip forming the lower edge of an altarpiece or the face of an altar step or platform
2.  a platform in a church upon which the altar stands
 
[C19: from Italian: stool, step, probably from Old High German bret board]

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