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[tran-sept] /ˈtræn sɛpt/
noun, Architecture
any major transverse part of the body of a church, usually crossing the nave, at right angles, at the entrance to the choir.
an arm of this, on either side of the central aisle of a church.
Origin of transept
1530-40; < Anglo-Latin trānseptum. See trans-, septum
Related forms
transeptal, adjective
transeptally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for transept
  • The gable face of the south transept is hidden by the attached guild hall wing which has a significantly lower hip roof.
  • Short transept arms and a semicircular apse subtly reinforce the cruciform shape of the building.
  • Graham reused the exterior walls, but expanded the transept's dimensions and added a tower and a spire.
  • In the north transept is the noble organ which was built for the parish nearly two years age.
  • The church has no transept, and is but an oblong building of an aspect not particularly imposing.
  • Each transept has an aisle to the east, forming three chapels.
British Dictionary definitions for transept


either of the two wings of a cruciform church at right angles to the nave
Derived Forms
transeptal, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Anglo-Latin transeptum, from Latin trans- + saeptum enclosure
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 transept

"transverse section of a cruciform church," 1530s, from Medieval Latin transeptum, from Latin trans- "across" (see trans-) + saeptum "fence, partition, enclosure" (see septum). Rare before 1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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