• synonyms


noun Architecture.
  1. any major transverse part of the body of a church, usually crossing the nave, at right angles, at the entrance to the choir.
  2. an arm of this, on either side of the central aisle of a church.
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Origin of transept

From the Anglo-Latin word trānseptum, dating back to 1530–40. See trans-, septum
Related formstran·sep·tal, adjectivetran·sep·tal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for transept

Historical Examples of transept

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

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete

    Emile Zola

  • Next, Pierre turned into the transept on the left, where stand the confessionals.

  • There is an attractive window in this transept, the gift of Edward IV.

  • Its total length is about 265 feet with a transept of about 109 feet long.

    Portuguese Architecture

    Walter Crum Watson

  • Only the chancel with its flanking chapels and the transept have been built.

    Portuguese Architecture

    Walter Crum Watson

British Dictionary definitions for transept


  1. either of the two wings of a cruciform church at right angles to the nave
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Derived Formstranseptal, adjective

Word Origin for transept

C16: from Anglo-Latin transeptum, from Latin trans- + saeptum enclosure
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 transept


"transverse section of a cruciform church," 1530s, from Medieval Latin transeptum, from Latin trans- "across" (see trans-) + saeptum "fence, partition, enclosure" (see septum). Rare before 1700.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper