From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Latin cancellus (little crab). Doublet of chancel.


cancellus (plural cancelli)

  1. (architecture) A barrier, balustrade or railing, or screen, dividing the main body of a church from the chancel.
  2. (anatomy) One of the interlacing osseous plates constituting the elastic porous tissue of certain parts of the bones, especially in their articular extremities.




Diminutive, from cancer (crab) +‎ -lus.



cancellus m (genitive cancellī); second declension

  1. one of the bars which, in the form of a grid, collectively constitute a door that lets daylight through; the bars were covered by vēla if it was desired to keep the light off – lattice, grate, grid, bars, barrier, railings
    • a. 224, Dig. 30, 1, 41, § 10 Ulpianus libro vicesimo primo ad Sabinum
      Sed si cancelli sint vel vela, legari poterunt, non tamen fistulae vel castelli.
      But while bar-doors or their veils can be legated, not so water-pipes or water-basins.
    • 211–217 Dig. 43, 24, 9, § 1 Ulpianus libro septuagensimo primo ad edictum
      Si tamen sera vel clavis vel cancellus vel specularium sit ablatum, quod vi aut clam agi non poterit.
      But if a door-bar or a key or a pane is carried away, be it by force or stealthily, there is no action [by interdict].

Usage notes[edit]

Usually used in the plural to denote such a door.


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative cancellus cancellī
Genitive cancellī cancellōrum
Dative cancellō cancellīs
Accusative cancellum cancellōs
Ablative cancellō cancellīs
Vocative cancelle cancellī

Derived terms[edit]