One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An enclosed area in front of a cathedral or church, typically surrounded with colonnades or porticoes.
- ‘At the north end of the composition, in front of the cathedral is a new parvis which is intended to be a place of congregation and recreation.’
- ‘The great parvis for open-air worshippers recalls a Classical Greek theatre set in the landscape, with the man-made and natural worlds brought together in a powerful symbiosis.’
- ‘The building draws back from the end of the site to form a parvis planted with trees, which will hopefully become a well-used and cared-for public space.’
- ‘A simple glass wall separates the church from its huge parvis, dematerializing the boundary between interior and exterior.’
- ‘The main public frontage is defined by a triangular, rock-studded parvis while the inner edge encloses a small garden landscaped in an artfully minimal Japanese style, creating a peaceful haven for contemplation.’
Late Middle English: from Old French, based on late Latin paradisus ‘paradise’, in the Middle Ages denoting a court in front of St Peter's, Rome.
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