Definition of baptistery in US English:


(also baptistry)


  • 1The part of a church used for baptism.

    • ‘The octagon, suggests Perrin, was chosen for its resonance with the baptistries of the ancient and gothic worlds.’
    • ‘In January 1908, the nave and baptistry were dedicated.’
    • ‘Immediately inside the main door there is a remarkable oval shaped baptistry with a rose window and a ceiling full of five, six and seven pointed stars on a dark blue night sky.’
    • ‘The baptistery's sumptuous sculptural programme includes Virgin and Last Judgement portals and interior niches, simplifying but also monumentalizing their French sources.’
    • ‘Carl Erikson has a series of photos that portrays a number of baptisteries used for adult baptism.’
    • ‘To reduce returning sound being muddied, the rear wall to the baptistry was opened with angled cuts and a tapestry hung, resulting in unusual visual links to the space.’
    • ‘During the reconstruction of the church between 1965 and 1969, it was located in the old baptistry but was much smaller in size.’
    • ‘‘The painting will hang in the Victorian baptistry behind the stone font which is a very fitting location,’ he said.’
    • ‘This trompe l'œuil style is derived ultimately from late antique decoration exemplified in both the orthodox baptistry in Ravenna and St George, Thessaloniki.’
    • ‘The Victorian church will have new lighting and a baptistery, the pews will be replaced by chairs and it will be redecorated throughout.’
    • ‘The Reverend Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in water in a baptistery at University Baptist Church when he was electrocuted on Sunday morning.’
    • ‘The Saint Philip reliquary is one of the best preserved of the reliquaries from the Florentine baptistery, but its original appearance has undergone a significant transformation.’
    • ‘In 1425, the powerful wool merchants' guild of Florence commissioned the artist Lorenzo Ghiberti to construct a door for the baptistry of St John in the city.’
    • ‘He won early distinction for himself when he entered the competition to create the bronze doors for the baptistry of the city's cathedral.’
    • ‘Giovanni del Chiaro provided the baptistery with a number of important and expensive liturgical objects, including a basin and two silver ampullae.’
    • ‘A third window in the baptistry is based on the classical painting ‘Light of the World’.’
    • ‘Positioned asymmetrically, an ornate, 17 th-century altarpiece marks the entrance to the baptistery and the nave just beyond.’
    • ‘The baptistery was built in the area formerly occupied by the two furnaces; the hexagonal baptismal pool in the centre was formerly covered by a canopy on six columns, two of which survive.’
    • ‘This afforded opportunities for conversation - especially when the purpose of the baptistry was explained.’
    1. 1.1historical A building next to a church, used for baptism.
      • ‘In Florence, charging for admissions started with the baptistery and the museum of the duomo - a nuisance that did not prevent visits or prayer in the church proper.’
      • ‘On this panel, Brunelleschi painted a view of the baptistery from a representation that he had traced on and over its mirror reflection.’
      • ‘It glistens with a thick varnish-like finish that compels opening, parting at the center like a medieval church's baptistry doors.’
      • ‘The baptistery has been repositioned and the sanctuary extended.’
      • ‘It is in Ravenna that the earliest mosaics are preserved, in temple after temple, in museums, presbyteries, baptistries and churches.’
    2. 1.2 (in a Baptist chapel) a sunken receptacle used for baptism by total immersion.
      • ‘I could open the baptistry and fill it with water and point a gun at someone's head and say, ‘You are being baptised or I'll shoot you dead.’’
      • ‘To give a more vivid demonstration of the accuracy of his painting, he bored a small hole in the panel with the baptistery painting at the vanishing point.’
      • ‘The original baptismal basin was incorporated into the installation and water flows continually among the pieces of the new baptistery.’
      • ‘Then, after a long day of talking and gorging, you can go soak your feet in the baptistery.’
      • ‘The cross behind the baptistery was brown and the large double doors leading outside were red, as well as the thin carpet down the isle that led to the pulpit.’


Middle English: from Old French baptistere, via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek baptistērion, from baptizein ‘immerse, baptize’.