Definition of dossal in English:



  • An ornamental cloth hung behind an altar in a church or at the sides of a chancel.

    • ‘The tall ladder was set up, the long white dossals were hung.’
    • ‘Another work with Petrine iconography is a thirteenth-century dossal for, most likely, the little Florentine church.’
    • ‘They added a loom in the mid-1960's and she made dossals, tapestries, pillows, lampshades and other handmade fabric wares.’
    • ‘It was made ready, its stage transformed into a sanctuary and choir, an altar erected with dossals and riddles, hanging crucifix and candles.’
    • ‘Behind the altar hang the dossals or draperies.’
    • ‘Very tasteful dossals of purple and white hung the walls on either side of the altar.’
    • ‘These dossals have both been cut down at either end; they each most likely had two extra figures of saints.’
    • ‘The dossal was up - in all its purple glory.’
    • ‘Interesting are also some easel works by Titian, Tiepolo, Giorgione and by Tintoretto himself, as well as the dossals by Giovanni Marchiori and the wooden sculptures by Francesco Pianta.’
    • ‘I was a pastor several years ago, but never knew if we had dossals.’
    • ‘The dossals were decorated with pictures and stories of the saints, which had an educational as well as devotional function.’
    • ‘The Frontispiece shows the high altar of Westminster Abbey vested for Lent in a frontal, frontlet, and dossal of white linen.’
    • ‘Altar cloths and Communion lines were replaced regularly, it seemed, and dossals or backdrops have come and gone.’
    • ‘It donated the framed dossals of St. Francis and St. Clare, which were blessed and placed in the Eucharistic Chapel in November 1996.’
    drape, curtain, drop, drop cloth, drop curtain, drop scene, tableau curtain, frontal
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Mid 17th century (denoting an ornamental cloth for covering the back of a seat): from medieval Latin dossale, from late Latin dorsalis ‘on the back’ (see dorsal).