from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A barrier, balustrade or railing, or screen, dividing the main body of a church from the chancel.
  • n. One of the interlacing osseous plates constituting the elastic porous tissue of certain parts of the bones, especially in their articular extremities.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The Latin word cancellus was commonly used for the low screen which marked the separation of the presbyterium and choir from the rest of the church.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • The partition thus described, which separated the prebyterium and choir from the nave, was the cancellus or chancel.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • Magistrate from his subordinates, and this fence, being made of long splinters of wood placed diagonally, was called _cancellus_, from its likeness to network, the regular Latin word for a net being casses, and the diminutive cancellus [177].

    The Letters of Cassiodorus Being A Condensed Translation Of The Variae Epistolae Of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator

  • Marble was bought for the doorcase, and the door itself was studded with 95 bronze nails, which were gilt, as were also the ring and knocker, and the frame of trellised ironwork (_cancellus_), which hung within the outer door.

    The Care of Books

  • As in the cemetery of St. Laurence and in that of St. Symphorosa, there arose here two basilicas, one built by Constantine (ad corpus), rediscovered in 1855, another in the fifth century; there remain yet some important relics of the former, an altar with its marble cancellus, or front, in which was opened a fenestella confessionis through which could be seen the bodies of the martyrs, the site of the schola cantorum in front of the altar, and in the apse the episcopal chair.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux


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