American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A decorated platform or framework on which a coffin rests in state during a funeral.
- n. Roman Catholic Church A coffin-shaped structure draped with a pall, used to represent the corpse at a requiem Mass celebrated after the burial.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A stage or scaffolding, erected usually in the nave of a church, to support a coffin on the occasion of a ceremonious funeral. In the middle ages it was common to erect a canopy upon this, covering the coffin; the whole structure was made somewhat to resemble an ecclesiastical edifice of the style then prevailing, and was allowed to remain for some little time after the ceremony. The modern catafalque is generally without a canopy, and in Roman Catholic countries is surrounded by large tapers, which are burned during a day or two preceding the burial. The catafalque is sometimes used as a hearse in carrying the body to the grave or tomb at a public or ceremonious funeral.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A temporary structure sometimes used in the funeral solemnities of eminent persons, for the public exhibition of the remains, or their conveyance to the place of burial.
- n. a decorated bier on which a coffin rests in state during a funeral
- From French catafalque, from Italian catafalco, of unknown origin. Compare scaffold. (Wiktionary)
- French, from Italian catafalco. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“A catafalque is of course what is used for the absolution of the dead without a body present.”
“So far as I can see then, the catafalque is simply constructed of a bier (a raised rectangular wooden box or metal stand of dimensions that would hold an adult sized coffin) which is then covered by the black pall, or the same, further with a type of symbolic coffin further placed upon it, similarly covered.”
“No monument or tablet, so far as I could learn, has ever been erected to the memory of those who perished in these two great disasters; but a catafalque is dressed, and candles are lighted, and a solemn commemorative mass for the souls of the lost and dead is performed in the church at Alleghe on the 21st of May in every year.”
“And here's a word that many of us are only today beginning to understand what it means, it's a catafalque, which is a platform.”
“But if you go to the Capitol today, you will see the room where Washington was to have been buried, and that's where they store the catafalque, which is used in national mourning.”
“At the beginning of the Mass, the casket was carried into the Oratory and placed on the catafalque, which is a raised platform used to support the casket.”
“But the King, in robes of purple and black, came to assist her from her palfrey before the beautiful entry of the Abbey Church, and led her up the nave to the desks prepared around what was then termed 'a herce, 'but which would now be called a catafalque, an erection supposed to contain the body, and adorned with the lozenges of the arms of Scotland and Beaufort, and of the Stewart, in honour of the Black Knight of Lorn.”
“It forms, in the middle of the circular nave of the church, a kind of catafalque of white marble: the cupola of cedar, in falling, might have crushed it, but could not have set it on fire.”
“The title, McMillen explains, "... is both metaphoric and a bit literal," as the installation includes a looped screening of his new short film "Quotidian Man" which projected onto the billboard of the "Hotel New Empire," a kind of tilting film set raised on a catafalque of stilts over a tray of water.”
“I have a clear view of Seth where I am croutched in the cave, and the flashing light makes his wrapped form look like a catafalque beneath the grey monument rock.”
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