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the space about the altar of a church, usually enclosed, for the clergy and other officials.
the part of a church containing the altar, sanctuary, and choir, usually separated from the nave and transepts by a screen

c.1300, “part of the church around the altar,” from Old French chancel, from Late Latin cancellus “lattice,” from Latin cancelli (plural) “grating, bars” (see cancel); sense extended in Late Latin from the lattice-work that separated the choir from the nave in a church to the space itself.


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