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

  • noun A room in or attached to a church where the clergy put on their vestments and where these robes and other sacred objects are stored; a sacristy.
  • noun A room in a church used for meetings and classes.
  • noun A committee of members elected to administer the temporal affairs of a parish.
  • noun A business meeting of parishioners in a parish.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A room, or sometimes a separate building, attached to a church, where the vestments of the clergy, and sometimes the sacred vessels and other treasures of the church, are kept.
  • noun In non-liturgical churches, a room or building attached to a church, and used for the Sabbath-school, the weekly prayer-meetings, religious services, etc.; a chapel.
  • noun In English ecclesiastical law, and in American colonial law: A meeting of the inhabitants or ratepayers of a parish for the despatch of the official business of the parish.
  • noun A meeting or a board consisting of representatives of the ratepayers at large, all of whom are entitled to vote in their election.
  • noun In the Prot. Epis. Ch. in the United States of America, a committee (chosen annually by the members of the congregation) who, in conjunction with the churchwardens, manage its temporal affairs.

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

  • noun A room appendant to a church, in which sacerdotal vestments and sacred utensils are sometimes kept, and where meetings for worship or parish business are held; a sacristy; -- formerly called revestiary.
  • noun (Ch. of Eng.) A parochial assembly; an assembly of persons who manage parochial affairs; -- so called because usually held in a vestry.
  • noun (Prot. Epis. Ch.) A body, composed of wardens and vestrymen, chosen annually by a parish to manage its temporal concerns.
  • noun in the city of London, and certain specified parishes and places in England, a body composed of householders who pay poor rates. Its duties include the repair of churches, care of highways, the appointment of certain officers, etc.
  • noun a select number of persons chosen in large and populous English parishes to represent and manage the concerns of the parish for one year.
  • noun (Ch. of Eng.) a vestry. See def. 2, above.
  • noun an officer chosen by the vestry, who keeps a record of its proceedings; also, in England, one who keeps the parish accounts and books.
  • noun the meeting of a vestry or vestry board; also, a meeting of a parish held in a vestry or other place.

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

  • noun A room in a church where the clergy put on their vestments and where these are stored; also used for meetings and classes; a sacristy
  • noun A committee of parishioners elected to administer the temporal affairs of a parish

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

  • noun in the Protestant Episcopal Church: a committee elected by the congregation to work with the churchwardens in managing the temporal affairs of the church
  • noun a room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept or meetings are held


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

[Middle English vestrie, probably from Anglo-Norman *vesterie, alteration of Old French vestiarie; see vestiary.]


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  • At last he dropped asleep in the middle of a story about a vestry he worked for that hadn't acted fair and square by him like he had by them, or it (I don't know if vestry is singular or plural), and we went home.

    The Wouldbegoods Edith 1901

  • I suppose they thought the neighbourhood of the vestry was the last place in the world where anybody would think of looking after them, but, however that may be, there they were.

    The Woman in White 2003

  • And we swear to you, (under correction from the parish vestry, which is entitled to half-a-crown an oath,) that the circulating libraries would make a driveler of Seneca!

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844 Various

  • "No" said the man "Mr. Roberts who is sorting surplices in the vestry is the parson."

    Daisy Ashford: Her Book Daisy Ashford 1926

  • Tradition places the entrance at the opposite end, by means of an external staircase; an arrangement which would have been more convenient for the members of the Chapter, as they could have approached it through their vestry, which is on the south side of the choir.

    The Care of Books John Willis Clark 1871

  • Their duties were primarily to take care of the church property, assess the rates, and call the vestry-meetings.

    Civil Government in the United States Considered with Some Reference to Its Origins John Fiske 1871

  • Virginia parishes; the vestry was a close corporation

    Civil Government in the United States Considered with Some Reference to Its Origins John Fiske 1871

  • So I said, in a by-the-by way, to my churchwarden, "We must call a vestry before long, and have this looked to."

    Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood George MacDonald 1864

  • But Mr Brownrigg, who, I must say, had taken more pains than might have been expected of him to make himself acquainted with the legalities of his office, did not fail to call a vestry, to which, as usual, no one had responded; whereupon he imposed a rate according to his own unaided judgment.

    Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood George MacDonald 1864

  • The truth was, that between Lady Price's economies, and the unwillingness to call vestry meetings, moneys intended for one purpose had been used for another, and articles not within the denomination of charities had been charged on funds raised for that exclusive object.

    The Pillars of the House, V1 Charlotte Mary Yonge 1862


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