[pri-del-uh; Italian pre-del-lah]

noun, plural pre·del·le [pri-del-ee; Italian pre-del-le] /prɪˈdɛl i; Italian prɛˈdɛl lɛ/. Fine Arts.

the base of an altarpiece, often decorated with small paintings or reliefs.

Origin of predella

1840–50; < Italian < Langobardic *predel, *pretel, derivative of *pret- board < Germanic *bret- (> Old High German brët (German Brett), Old English, Old Saxon bred board, plank; akin to board); conformed in It to the diminutive suffix -ella -elle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for predella

Historical Examples of predella

  • Four small panels with a Saint in each, and five parts of a Predella: 1.

    Luca Signorelli

    Maud Cruttwell

  • The predella is divided by painted pilasters into three parts.

    Luca Signorelli

    Maud Cruttwell

  • The predella of the picture is full of stories almost in the style of Carpaccio.

    The Story of Perugia

    Margaret Symonds

  • In the predella of this picture shall be painted eighteen figures.


    Evelyn March Phillipps

  • But this design is only the predella beneath the picture “Faith and Love.”

British Dictionary definitions for predella


noun plural -le (-liː, Italian -le)

a painting or sculpture or a series of small paintings or sculptures in a long narrow strip forming the lower edge of an altarpiece or the face of an altar step or platform
a platform in a church upon which the altar stands

Word Origin for predella

C19: from Italian: stool, step, probably from Old High German bret board
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