from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- 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.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A cave, grotto, or subterraneous place of large extent used for the burial of the dead; -- commonly in the plural.
from The 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.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an underground tunnel with recesses where bodies were buried (as in ancient Rome)
Probably French catacombe, from Old French, from Late Latin catacumba.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French catacombe, from Italian catacomba, from late Latin catacumbas, in greek κατά kata - under, latin cumba - cavity (Wiktionary)