Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tall tower forming the superstructure of a building, such as a church or temple, and usually surmounted by a spire.
  • n. A spire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tall tower, often on a church, normally topped with a spire.
  • n. A spire.
  • v. To form something into the shape of a steeple.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spire; also, the tower and spire taken together; the whole of a structure if the roof is of spire form. See spire.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rise above other buildings or objects as a steeple or a spire.
  • n. A typically lofty structure attached to a church, town-house, or other public edifice, and generally intended to contain the bells of such edifice.
  • n. A lofty head-dress worn by women in the fourteenth century. See hennin.
  • n. A pyramidal pile or stack of fish set to dry. Also called pack. See the quotation under pack, 10 .

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building (usually a church or temple) and that tapers to a point at the top

Etymologies

Middle English stepel, from Old English stēpel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English stepel from Old English stipel, stypel, stepel, akin to Old English steap. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • With quaint anglers in steeple-crowned hats, setting forth to fish, or breakfasting under a tree (untrammelled by the formalities of a nursery meal), or bringing their spoils to a wayside inn with a painted fish upon the sign-board, and a hostess in a high hat and a stiff-bustled dress at the door.

    Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances

  • Our steeple is a prominent symbol, and, it must be said, how well we care for it speaks volumes about who we are.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • Our steeple is a symbol, one that makes me think of other such symbols, such as the New England favorite, the lighthouse.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • In the top of the steeple is the belfry with the fire bell inside.

    St. Vincent Firehall

  • A steeple is a tall ornamental structure on church or cathedral.

    Archive 2005-07-01

  • 'Company of Christ's faithful people,' and that the mere outward building where they were gathered should only be called a steeple-house if it had a steeple, or a meeting-house if it had none.

    A Book of Quaker Saints

  • On the top of the steeple was a great gilded cross, considerably larger than a man.

    The Exploits of Elaine

  • An old man, being asked what he thought was the cause of the Sands, replied that he had lived near there, man and boy, fourscore years, and before the neighboring steeple was built there was no Sands, and therefore his opinion was that the steeple was the cause of the Sands.

    Introduction to the History of Religions Handbooks on the History of Religions, Volume IV

  • Page 163 steeple, and in the steeple is the belfry, where exists, and has existed time out of mind, the pride and wonder of the village — the great clock of the borough of Vondervotteimittiss.

    Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. In Two Volumes. Vol. I

  • The white spire of the meeting - house ascended out of the densest heap of vapor, as if that shadowy base were its only support: or, to give a truer interpretation, the steeple was the emblem of Religion, enveloped in mystery below, yet pointing to a cloudless atmosphere, and catching the brightness of the east on its gilded vane.

    Passages from a Relinquised Work (From "Mosses from an Old Manse")

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Comments

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  • You cannot spell Yarmouth-steeple right. - an old provincial saying from Norfolk England recorded by Grose, in his 1787 A Provincial Glossary. Yarmouth's church spire was awry, or crooked. The old proverb is a play on both the word spell and the word right.

    May 3, 2011

  • Also a hat that looks like this.

    November 14, 2007