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[aps] /æps/
Architecture. a semicircular or polygonal termination or recess in a building, usually vaulted and used especially at the end of a choir in a church.
Astronomy. an apsis.
Origin of apse
First recorded in 1815-25; variant of apsis
Related forms
[ap-si-dl] /ˈæp sɪ dl/ (Show IPA),
apsidally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for apse
Historical Examples
  • This chapel was one of the most sunken and dark of the old Romanesque apse.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • However, it was these portions of the transept and the apse which had the least suffered.

  • The apse, the last pillars, the giant piers themselves were felled!

  • When we came into the choir and apse we found ourselves in the midst of complexity.

  • "I am talking of the apse family," he answered, courteously.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • Surely you've heard of the great firm of apse & Sons, shipowners.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • And they say old Mr. apse was so annoyed when they told him that he took to his bed and died.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • The vanity of boasting in the evening to all their chums: 'We've just shipped in that there apse Family.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • apse & Sons wrote to ask whether he wouldn't reconsider his decision!

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • The apse is flamboyant, as are also the windows of the south transept.

British Dictionary definitions for apse


Also called apsis. a domed or vaulted semicircular or polygonal recess, esp at the east end of a church
(astronomy) another name for apsis (sense 1)
Derived Forms
apsidal (æpˈsaɪdəl; ˈæpsɪdəl) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Latin apsis, from Greek: a fitting together, arch, from haptein to fasten
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 apse

"semicircular extension at the end of a church," 1846, from Latin apsis "an arch, a vault," from Greek hapsis (Ionic apsis) "loop, arch," originally "a fastening, felloe of a wheel," from haptein "fasten together," of unknown origin. The original sense in Greek seems to have been the joining of the arcs to form a circle, especially in making a wheel. The architectural term is earlier attested in English in the Latin form (1706).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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