Share this entry

apse Line breaks: apse

Definition of apse in English:


1A large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof and typically at the church’s eastern end.
Example sentences
  • They were seated at the midpoint of the nave, with us facing them backward, that is, toward the narthex rather than the apse of the cathedral.
  • A number of buildings, at Vindolanda, South Shields, Housesteads and Birdoswald, have been claimed as Christian churches, largely on account of their having semi-circular apses.
  • Inside is a nave surmounted by a generous barrel vault supported by large but simple columns and flanked by side aisles; a transept separates the nave from a central apse behind the altar.
2 another term for apsis.
Example sentences
  • Further, it should be stated that the assumption is negatived by the movement of the moon's apse.
  • Moreover, the progression of the Moon's apse, thus determined by Newton, is but half its true amount.
  • A break-down of the secular rates of motion of the lunar orbit's apse and line of nodes, taken from Brown's lunar theory, is instructive in this respect.


Early 19th century (in sense 2): from Latin apsis (see apsis).

Words that rhyme with apse

collapse, craps, elapse, lapse, perhaps, schnapps

Definition of apse in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful