[awr-ee-uh l, ohr‐]


a bay window, especially one cantilevered or corbeled out from a wall.
(in medieval architecture) a large bay window of a hall or chamber.

Origin of oriel

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French oriol porch, passage, gallery, perhaps ≪ Latin aureolus “gilded”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oriel

Historical Examples of oriel

  • She assured herself of that as she returned to her post in the oriel window.

  • He asked Raleigh at Oriel to join him, and the boy eagerly accepted.

    Historic Boyhoods

    Rupert Sargent Holland

  • He sank down on the oriel seat, the letter dropping from his hands.

    Robert Elsmere

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • But Oriel is no longer to rank as one of the moderate-sized colleges.


    Frederick Douglas How

  • And she hurried forth to the oriel window, where Jack was already perched.

    In Convent Walls

    Emily Sarah Holt

Word Origin and History for oriel

"large recessed window," mid-14c., from Old French oriol "hall, vestibule; oriel," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin oriolum "porch, gallery" (mid-13c.), perhaps from Vulgar Latin *auraeolum, dissimilated from aulaeolum, a diminutive of Latin aulaeum "curtain." Despite much research, the sense evolution remains obscure.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper