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[stee-puh l] /ˈsti pəl/
an ornamental construction, usually ending in a spire, erected on a roof or tower of a church, public building, etc.
a tower terminating in such a construction.
(loosely) a spire.
verb (used with object), steepled, steepling.
to provide with or form into a steeple or steeplelike configuration.
Origin of steeple
before 1000; Middle English stepel steeple, tower, Old English stēpel tower. See steep1, -le
Related forms
steepled, adjective
steepleless, adjective
steeplelike, adjective
unsteepled, adjective
Can be confused
spire, steeple. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for steeple
  • The steeple was blown over by a hurricane and the tower was damaged by an earthquake.
  • The steeple was above the brick tower of the church, which included a large clock face on the two street sides of the building.
  • The only portion which remains today is the west façade with the steeple tower.
  • Wright's was steeple, chapel and parish hall all in one.
  • Now and again a whimsically painted steeple breaks the horizon, its gilded cupola glittering in the bright spring sun.
  • The last of the wonder theaters, its tall steeple beckoned to movie- and theater-goers alike.
  • The gold-trimmed steeple was tilted, the pastor's house was knocked off its foundation.
  • The building was painted white, the spire on top of the steeple was removed and red tile was put on the roof.
  • Hardship is the church is located at a unique site with steeple height needed to fill gap coverage.
  • The church's tall steeple is one of the only surviving steeples of its era.
British Dictionary definitions for steeple


a tall ornamental tower that forms the superstructure of a church, temple, etc
such a tower with the spire above it
any spire or pointed structure
Derived Forms
steepled, adjective
Word Origin
Old English stēpel; see steep1
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 steeple

Old English stepel (Mercian), stiepel (West Saxon) "high tower" (related to steap "high, lofty"), from Proto-Germanic *staupilaz (see steep (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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