American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An underground cemetery consisting of chambers or tunnels with recesses for graves. Often used in the plural.
- n. An underground, often labyrinthine passageway.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Originally, the name of a locality near Rome, the “Hollows,” in which the church of St. Sebastian, with extensive burial-vaults, was built; but afterward applied to the vaults themselves, and to similar underground burial-places. The most celebrated of these subterranean vaults are those in and about this spot, the work of the early Christians. They consist of a labyrinth of narrow galleries, from 4 to 5 feet wide, at different levels, excavated in the soft granular tufa underlying the Campagna. In each wall loculi, or berth-like recesses, contained the bodies of the dead. The entrances to these were closed with slabs of stone, carefully sealed, and marked with inscriptions or rude pictures. In some cases small rooms, called
cubicula, were set apart for families of distinction in the church, especially for martyrs. Though these catacombs probably served to some extent as places of refuge and concealment for Christians during the earlier persecutions, the original idea of their construction was undoubtedly that they should be used only as burialvaults. The length of the galleries in the Roman catacombs has been variously estimated at from 350 to 900 miles, and the number of bodies there interred is said to be over 6,000,000. Similar underground burial-places are found at Naples, Cairo, Paris, etc. Those of Paris are abandoned quarries extending under a large portion of the city, which were made into a bonery in 1786, when the intramural cemeteries of the city were condemned and the bones were removed thither.
- n. An underground system of tunnels and chambers with recesses for graves, used (in former times) as a cemetery; a subterranean tunnel system used for burying the dead, as in Paris or ancient Rome.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A cave, grotto, or subterraneous place of large extent used for the burial of the dead; -- commonly in the plural.
- n. an underground tunnel with recesses where bodies were buried (as in ancient Rome)
- From French catacombe, from Italian catacomba, from late Latin catacumbas, in greek κατά kata - under, latin cumba - cavity (Wiktionary)
- Probably French catacombe, from Old French, from Late Latin catacumba. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The term catacomb was applied to these subterranean cemeteries at a much later period.”
“Catacumbas, whence the term catacomb, a word seemingly of uncertain origin (Northcote and Brownlow, I, 262-63).”
“In the northeast corner of the tomb was a small votive vessel filled with ocher, next to it more ocher, a stone pestle, and three objects made from the metacarpals of animals; in the northwest corner archaeologists found a bronze knife and a long bronze awl broken in half; in the southwest corner were two vessels covered with stone lids; and in the southeast corner, archaeologists were surprised to find a censer of a type commonly found in later so-called catacomb burials that had been placed upside down.”
“In some cases this accumulation of earth and sand has protected and hidden that portion of the catacomb which is vertically underneath and thus rescued many precious memorials from the ill-considered attentions, or outrages, of earlier explorers.”
“At another church is a kind of catacomb for the Earls of Kent: there are ten sumptuous monuments.”
“Collins is also unconvinced by Hawass's explanation of what he calls the "catacomb".”
“Although Dr Hawass suggests there is no mystery surrounding the "catacomb", Collins suspects that the caves extend beneath the Second Pyramid, where ancient tradition puts the legendary tomb of Tomb of Hermes, Egypt's legendary founder.”
“Vaster, more ambitious schemes were proposed, including a giant pyramidal catacomb atop Primrose Hill to house five million souls (the upper levels financed by the sale of the lower in an, er, pyramid-selling scheme), to which the seven were the sane and suburban alternative.”
“It seemed like we were in the cellars or a catacomb of some sort.”
“Hundreds of refugees packed into each level of the stone catacomb; the further down you descended, the more miserable they were, like rings of hell.”
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tinman, agnostic, dreadlocks, Van Gogh, fruitless, lava lamp, ariadne, cheap date, ken and barbie, I'm not dead yet, I'm not dead yet 2, manic fringe and 1192 more...
Words containing letters in sequence, together or apart, that form a definition or instance of the subsuming word. E.g., conTAmINaTe = the kangaroo word. TAINT = the joey. Theme from a NYT X-word ...
down(ward), wrongly or badly, completely, against
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