from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The upper part of the nave, transepts, and choir of a church, containing windows.
  • noun An upper portion of a wall containing windows for supplying natural light to a building.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See clearstory.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Same as clearstory.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture the upper part of a wall containing windows to let in natural light to a building, especially in the nave, transept and choir of a church or cathedral

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

  • noun part of an interior wall rising above the adjacent roof with windows admitting light


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

[Middle English clerestorie : perhaps cler, giving light, clear; see clear + storie, tier; see story.]


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  • One of those words that tends to be discovered in reading rather than in conversation. So for many years I thought it was pronounced cle-RES-tor-y (four syllables, stress on the second). Had a frustrating (’cause I lost) argument with my first boyfriend who, of course, pronounced it clear-story as it should be. But when it came to awry I won and all was well again.

    April 1, 2008

  • Gosh, is it really pronounced like that? Your ex may have been in the right technically, but cle-RES-tor-y is still the clear moral winner.

    April 1, 2008

  • The etymology is clearly English, although from the spelling I can imagine that is why you'd think it was Latinate. Knowing the etymology, it couldn't be cle-RES-tor-y, but I give you full credit. Just assume that your ex got lucky.

    I never did the spelling bee, but this seems like it would be a great word.

    April 2, 2008

  • The Macquarie Dictionary online gives the etymology as:

    cler- clear + French estoré built

    Perhaps there's some Latin in the "cler" part if one goes back far enough (clarus?).

    April 2, 2008

  • muddied-with-fail!

    March 13, 2013