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[neyv] /neɪv/
the principal longitudinal area of a church, extending from the main entrance or narthex to the chancel, usually flanked by aisles of less height and breadth: generally used only by the congregation.
Origin of nave
1665-75; < Medieval Latin nāvis, Latin: ship; so called from the resemblance in shape
Can be confused
knave, naval, nave (see synonym study at knave) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for nave


the central space in a church, extending from the narthex to the chancel and often flanked by aisles
Word Origin
C17: via Medieval Latin from Latin nāvis ship, from the similarity of shape


the central block or hub of a wheel
Word Origin
Old English nafu, nafa; related to Old High German naba
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for nave

"main part of a church," 1670s, from Medieval Latin navem (nominative navis) "nave of a church," from Latin navis "ship" (see naval), on some fancied resemblance in shape.


"hub of a wheel," Old English nafu, from Proto-Germanic *nabo- (cf. Old Saxon naba, Old Norse nöf, Middle Dutch nave, Dutch naaf, Old High German naba, German Nabe), perhaps connected with the root of navel on notion of centrality (cf. Latin umbilicus "navel," also "the end of a roller of a scroll," Greek omphalos "navel," also "the boss of a shield").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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