Definitions

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

  • n. An enclosed courtyard or space at the entrance to a building, especially a cathedral, that is sometimes surrounded by porticoes or colonnades.
  • n. One of the porticoes or colonnades surrounding such a space.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An enclosed courtyard in front of a building, especially a cathedral.
  • n. A portico surrounding such a space.
  • n. The porch of a church, or the room over it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A court of entrance to, or an inclosed space before, a church; hence, a church porch; -- sometimes formerly used as place of meeting, as for lawyers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vacant inclosed space of greater or less extent before a church (often slightly raised), and under the jurisdiction of the church authorities; also, the outer court of a palace or great house.
  • n. A room over a church porch employed as a school-room or a storage-room, or as a lodging for some ecclesiastic.
  • n. A church porch, where lawyers were in the habit of meeting for consultation; specifically, the portico of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

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

  • n. a courtyard or portico in front of a building (especially a cathedral)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, alteration of pareis, paradise, from Late Latin paradīsus, garden, paradise; see paradise.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman parvis, Middle French parvis, from Late Latin paradisus ("paradise") (used in the Middle Ages to describe the court in front of St Peter's in Rome, and later similar courts in front of other churches). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Saturnina a Rascetta per mediam manum decurrens, usque ad radicem montis Saturni, a parvis lineis intersecta, arguit melancholicos.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Fluvius hic illustris, humanarum rerum imago, quae parvis ductae sub initiis, in immensum crescunt, et subito evanescunt.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • As we trooped out of St. Peter's basilica that day, spreading our amaranthine stain over the great parvis, a palpable euphoria thrilled through the entire body.

    11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003

  • ** Un groupe de samouraïs passait devant un temple sur le parvis duquel se prélassait un chat.

    pinku-tk Diary Entry

  • Transibo per omnes pecudes tuas hodie, removendo inde omne pecus parvum punctis parvis respersum, et respersum maculis latis: et omnem agnum rufum in ovibus et respersum maculis latis, et respersum punctis parvis in capris: et erit merces mea.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 2

  • Et fuit, in tempore quo coibant pecudes, levavi oculos meos, et vidi in somnio, et ecce hirci majores ascendebant super capras variegatas, punctis parvis respersas, et maculis latis respersas.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 2

  • Et dixit, Leva nunc oculos tuos, et vide omnes hircos majores ascendentes super capras lineis distinctas, punctis parvis respersas, et maculis latis respersas: vidi enim omnia, quae Laban facit tibi.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 2

  • Et coibant pecudes prope virgas, et pariebant pecudes foetus lineis distinctos, et punctis parvis respersos, et maculis latis respersos.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 2

  • Et testificabitur mihi justitia mea die crastino, quum venerit ad mercedem meam coram to: quicquid non erit punctis parvis respersum, et maculis latis respersum in capris, et rufum in ovibus, furto ablatum erat a me.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 2

  • Removit itaque in die illa hircos minores variegatos, et maculis latis respersos, et omnes capras punctis parvis respersas, et maculis latis respersas, omne in quo erat candor, et omne rufum in ovibus, et dedit in manus filiorum suorum.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 2

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