Definition of clerestory in English:


(US clearstory)

nounPlural clerestories

  • 1The upper part of the nave, choir, and transepts of a large church, containing a series of windows.

    • ‘Light pours down at the ceremonial end from an unseen clerestory set into the roof where it steps up to offer nobility.’
    • ‘Standing above the river Trent is St Wystan's Church, much of which is of the mid-C14 and C15 including the tower and spire, clerestory, and roof.’
    • ‘Just one of his guiding principles, that nothing should be built higher than the clerestory of the Minster, has insured that it remains a resolutely low-rise city.’
    • ‘Highlights of these volumes are the windows of the choir clerestory, and the tracery lights of various chapels and of the chapter house.’
    • ‘The last major alteration was made soon afterwards when a clerestory was built above the nave arcades.’
    1. 1.1 A series of windows in another large building that are similar to those in a clerestory.
      • ‘A cove-lit ceiling vault braced with polished steel rods is dramatically cut away to reveal a steel-framed butterfly roof and clerestory that survive from the original factory.’
      • ‘A great deal of time is spent studying the sun's seasonal angles, capturing or controlling it with clerestories and tilted roof planes.’
      • ‘To solve this problem, the architects raised the central portion of the roof to create clerestories that can illuminate any classroom configuration.’
      • ‘The roundhouse was red sandstone brick with graceful arches over most of the ten stalls and a corrugated metal roof adorned with a ventilated clerestory.’
      • ‘The main gable roof, with its clerestories and secondary skillions, is clad in a specially rolled profile.’
    2. 1.2 A raised section of roof running down the centre of a railway carriage, with small windows or ventilators.
      • ‘Externally the cars have clerestory roofs.’
      • ‘The four-wheel clerestory roof planked side Sachsen coach will be in original red livery.’
      • ‘If you decide to glue the roof in place now, install the correct clerestory vent sides, depending on whether your car had air conditioning or not in the period you're modeling.’


Late Middle English: from clear + storey.