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Choir vs. Chorus

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips

Several types of groups can perform music, from solo electronic DJs, to pipe bands, to philharmonic orchestras, to choirs. But what’s the difference between a choir and a chorus? Don’t both of these words describe a large group of singers? Yes, but there are also important distinctions, including the makeup of the group and the types of performers it includes. Continue reading for a detailed explanation of these two musical terms.

In this article, I will compare choir vs. chorus. I will use each of these words in example sentences, so you can see them in their proper context. I will also discuss a memory tool that you can use to help you decide whether choir or chorus is more appropriate for your own piece.


The word choir originated from Middle English quer, quere, from Old French quer, from Latin chorus (see chorus). The spelling change in the 17th century was due to association with Latin chorus and modern French choeur. The word chorus originated in mid-16th century (denoting a character speaking the prologue of a play): from Latin, from Greek khoros.

Choir as noun:

Choir is a word used as a noun in English language where it means an organized group of singers, especially one that takes part in church services or performs in public.

The church choir gave an outstanding performance.

Chorus as noun:

Chorus is used as a noun in English language where it means a part of a song which is repeated after each verse.

Strong guitar-driven songs with big, big choruses.

Chorus also means a large organized group of singers, especially one which performs with an orchestra or opera company.

He has words of praise for the RSNO Chorus.

A simultaneous utterance of something by many people is also called chorus.

There was a growing chorus of complain.

Chorus as verb:

Chorus is used as a verb in English language where it means to say the same thing at the same time by a group of people.

"‘Morning, Sister,’ the nurses chorused".


Aubrey joined a choir at her local church.

The rehearsal was interrupted by bats in the rafters of the choir.

My ascent to the throne of heaven will be accompanied by a choir of angels.

A Westlake senior, Lana talked about participating in choir at the high school, as well as playing soccer and basketball in middle school, Ms. Picone said. –The Wall Street Journal

I’m trying to sing along to a new hit song, but I can only remember the words to the chorus.

The Community Chorus performs song and dance numbers every Sunday in the city park.

The chorus of this song is wistful and nostalgic, but the lyrics to the verses are optimistic and cheerful.

Being in City Ballet’s corps is not like being a member of a chorus line, or a backup singer. –The New York Times

Choir or chorus:

Choir and chorus are nouns. Either can refer to a group of singers, but a chorus can include other types of performers, and sometimes refers to a repeated section of a song. A choir can also be an angelic host. A choir comprises just vocalists, while a chorus might also include dancers or other performers. Choir also refers to an angelic host. Chorus refers to a repeated structural element in some pieces of music. Choir does not have this sense, so if you are referring to a repeated section in a song, chorus is your only option. Also, chorus has a figurative use that choir does not. If someone makes an unpopular decision, he or she might face a chorus of criticism. In this sense, chorus is alluding to the repetitive aspect of a chorus. In this sense, choir would not be appropriate. Since chorus and song are both spelled with the letter S, it should be easy to remember that a chorus can refer to a part of a song.



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