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[trahy-fawr-ee-uh m, -fohr-] /traɪˈfɔr i əm, -ˈfoʊr-/
noun, plural triforia
[trahy-fawr-ee-uh, -fohr-] /traɪˈfɔr i ə, -ˈfoʊr-/ (Show IPA).
(in a church) the wall at the side of the nave, choir, or transept, corresponding to the space between the vaulting or ceiling and the roof of an aisle, often having a blind arcade or an opening in a gallery.
1695-1705; < Anglo-Latin, special use of Medieval Latin triforium kind of gallery, literally, something with three openings, equivalent to Latin tri- tri- + for(is) opening, door + -ium -ium
Related forms
triforial, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for triforium
  • For the loading of the arch, however, the loading from the triforium columns is distributed through the diaphragm wall.
  • Alas, the marble columns in the triforium are all that remain from that period.
British Dictionary definitions for triforium


noun (pl) -ria (-rɪə)
an arcade above the arches of the nave, choir, or transept of a church
Derived Forms
triforial, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Anglo-Latin, apparently from Latin tri- + foris a doorway; referring to the fact that each bay characteristically had three openings
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for triforium

in architecture, space in a church above the nave arcade, below the clerestory, and extending over the vaults, or ceilings, of the side aisles. The term is sometimes applied to any second-floor gallery opening onto a higher nave by means of arcades or colonnades, like the galleries in many ancient Roman basilicas or Byzantine churches. The triforium became an integral part of church design during the Romanesque period, serving to light and ventilate the roof space. With the development of the Gothic vaulting system in France, the triforium diminished in size and importance. The cathedrals at Reims (begun 1211) and Amiens (1220-47) both have triforia of little relative height but with rich arcading.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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