Definition of chapel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtʃap(ə)l/


1A small building or room used for Christian worship in a school, prison, hospital, or large private house: a service in the chapel
More example sentences
  • He even managed to convert one hardened criminal to Christianity, becoming Godfather to his daughter christened in the prison chapel wearing an old wedding dress.
  • After six weeks his parents, Michelle and Steve, organised an emergency Christening at the hospital chapel.
  • He is dean of the chapel and professor of Christian ministry at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
1.1A part of a large church or cathedral with its own altar and dedication: the first chapel on the right of the cathedral is dedicated to St Ludmila
More example sentences
  • Nothing is known about him; he was clearly familiar with Franco-Flemish painting, but his main debt is to the earlier court school in Bohemia, at Karltejn and in the chapels of the cathedral in Prague.
  • The passageway is lit by a ribbon of alabaster above and subtly punctuated by the cathedral's devotional chapels, which are arranged along the inner walls.
  • The training of musicians was undertaken within professional musical families, in the conservatories in Naples and Palermo, or at the chapels of the leading cathedrals.
1.2British A place of worship for Nonconformist congregations: she went to chapel twice on Sunday
More example sentences
  • In Britain many were based on parish churches or, especially, Nonconformist chapels; the celebrated Huddersfield Choral Society was founded in 1836.
  • The nonconformist chapels, moral beacons to many in the Victorian heyday, were now suffering from falling membership, declining funds, and diminished authority.
  • Church-building was matched by equally rapid growth of nonconformist chapels.
1.3A small building or room used for funeral services: the funeral was in the chapel at Broadfoot Brothers Funeral Home
More example sentences
  • She was her way to the chapel where the funeral services were being held.
  • The eastern, public strip is a wide hall, terminated at its southern end by the funerary chapel, where the services are held.
  • The funeral ended and the mourners exited the chapel.
1.4US A chapel of rest.
Example sentences
  • His first job was renovating the chapel in a local funeral home.
  • Long before the funeral hour the street in front of the undertaker's chapel was crowded.
2British The members or branch of a print or newspaper trade union at a particular place of work: Mr Brind was the head of the BBC’s NUJ chapel
More example sentences
  • The National Union of Journalists has a chapel of over 50 members and is growing.
  • Activists talked about the need for the union's workplace chapels and geographic branches to ‘adopt’ a local BBC workplace.
  • Lucie McFall is a Bolton Evening News reporter and joint mother of the chapel.


British informal
Belonging to or regularly attending a Nonconformist chapel: staunch chapel folk
More example sentences
  • ‘It is a benefit,’ she stated, then felt she should add that, being chapel, she was not one for the theatre herself.
  • He was in disfavor with her father and with all the other chapel folk.
  • In England and Wales people considered themselves either ‘church’ or ‘chapel’.


Middle English: from Old French chapele, from medieval Latin cappella, diminutive of cappa 'cap or cape' (the first chapel being a sanctuary in which St Martin's cloak was preserved).

  • The first place to be called a chapel was named after the holy relic preserved in it, the cape of St Martin. The Latin word cappella, meaning ‘little cape’, was applied to the building itself and eventually to any holy sanctuary. Chaplain (Middle English) is a related word, which referred initially to an attendant entrusted with guarding the cape. The Latin form remains unchanged in the musical term a cappella, which means ‘sung without instrumental accompaniment’ but is literally ‘in chapel style’. See also cap

Words that rhyme with chapel

apple, chappal, Chappell, dapple, grapple, scrapple

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: chapel

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