[kuh-ral, -rahl, kaw-, koh-; kawr-uh l, kohr-]


a hymn, especially one with strong harmonization: a Bach chorale.
a group of singers specializing in singing church music; choir.

Origin of chorale

1835–45; < German Choral, short for Choralgesang, translation of Latin cantus chorālis choral singing; see choral Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chorale

Historical Examples of chorale

  • The chorale was the exact opposite of the motette of the Netherlands.

  • Likewise the notation of a Chorale with a figured bass should not be omitted.

  • It is not a play, it is a chorale of woe, malediction, and want.


    James Huneker

  • Then came the epistle, the litany (which was sung), and the prelude to the chorale.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams

  • Oppositional splendour is there, and the stained radiance of a Bachian chorale.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for chorale




a slow stately hymn tune, esp of the Lutheran Church
mainly US a choir or chorus

Word Origin for chorale

C19: from German Choralgesang, translation of Latin cantus chorālis choral song
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

Word Origin and History for chorale

1828, "sacred choral song," from German Choral "metrical hymn in Reformed church," shortened from Choralgesang "choral song," translating Medieval Latin cantus choralis, from Latin cantus (see chant (v.)) + choralis (see choral). The -e was added to indicate stress. Meaning "group of singers" is 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper