n. 1 a railed-off antechamber or porch etc. at the western entrance of some early Christian churches, used by catechumens, penitents, etc. 2 a similar antechamber in a modern church. Etymology: L f. Gk narthex giant fennel, stick, casket, narthex
Narthex Nar"thex, n. [L., giant fennel, Gr. ?.] 1. (Bot.) A tall umbelliferous plant (Ferula communis). See Giant fennel, under Fennel. 2. (Arch.) The portico in front of ancient churches; sometimes, the atrium or outer court surrounded by ambulatories; -- used, generally, for any vestibule, lobby, or outer porch, leading to the nave of a church.