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Choir vs. Chorus

  • A choir is a group of singers.
  • A chorus is a large group of singers that may include dancers.
  • Chorus is also another name for the refrain of a song.

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What’s a Choir?

Choir has more definitions than most people realize. The most well-known meaning is an organized group of singers, such as those who sing hymns for church services. However, choir also refers to the section in the building where the singers stand. The term can be even more general, referring to organized groups of people or things, such as a group of the same type of instruments. Finally, a division of angels is a choir.

Animated gif of musician Pharrell singing and dancing in front of a lively church choir. There is text that says: Choir or chorus?

What’s a Chorus?

Chorus has as many definitions as choir. Most people think of a chorus as a large group of singers—as a choir, essentially. However, a chorus can be quite specific about the kind of performers it includes. For example, the chorus in an Athenian drama or a musical comedy is made up of singers and dancers. In an opera, the chorus is composed of singers who sing the choral parts. The term chorus doesn’t only refer to performers; it also refers to the part of a song that repeats at certain intervals or to anything sung, spoken, or done at the same time by a group of people or animals.

Choir vs. Chorus

A choir refers to a group of singers, but a chorus may include dancers or actors. The two terms share some meanings but are not interchangeable. For example, chorus can refer to the refrain of a song, but choir can’t. Both words can refer to groups of people or animals.

Idioms—Preaching to the Choir

The Urban Dictionary defines preaching to the choir as “trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced.” You use this phrase to show that you agree with a statement or opinion.

“I wish they would put more beef in the beef and broccoli. I think I only found three pieces in the whole dish.”

You’re preaching to the choir , honey!”

If you listen to a group of singers, you can call it a choir or a chorus. But if you are talking about the repeated section of a song, you can only use chorus to refer to it. Also, a chorus may include dancers. Now that you know the definition of choir and chorus, which one do you want to join?

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