Wednesday, January 06, 2010


OK, I'm not going to publish every word of the day, but here's another really interesting one, from an etymological point of view. I had no idea of this word's origin. You can subscribe to this list at Merriam-Webster's website.

The Word of the Day for January 6 is:

chapel \CHAP-ul\ noun
1 : a private or subordinate place of worship
*2 : an assembly at an educational institution usually including devotional exercises
3 : a place of worship used by a Christian group other than an established church

Example sentence:
The school required all of its students to attend chapel daily.

Did you know?
"Chapel" is ultimately derived from the Late Latin word "cappa," meaning "cloak." How did we get from a garment to a building? The answer to this question has to do with a shrine created to hold the sacred cloak of St. Martin of Tours. In Medieval Latin, this shrine was called "cappella" (from a diminutive of "cappa" meaning "short cloak or cape") in reference to the relic it contained. Later, the meaning of "cappella" broadened to include any building that housed a sacred relic, and eventually to a place of worship. Old French picked up the term as "chapele," which in turn passed into English as "chapel" in the 13th century. In case you are wondering, the term "a cappella," meaning "without instrumental accompaniment," entered English from Italian, where it literally means "in chapel style."


Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

So does "a cappella" mean that we sing without our coats on? :)

Ruth said...

I guess so! Who knew?