Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A prehistoric monument consisting of monoliths encircling a mound.
  • n. A dolmen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dolmen or ancient underground tomb.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A monument of rough stones composed of one or more large ones supported in a horizontal position upon others. They are found chiefly in countries inhabited by the ancient Celts, and are of a period anterior to the introduction of Christianity into these countries.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In archœol., a structure consisting of a large, flat, unhewn stone resting horizontally upon three or more upright stones, of common occurrence in parts of Great Britain, as in Wales, Devonshire, Cornwall, and Ireland, and in Brittany and other parts of Europe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a prehistoric megalithic tomb typically having two large upright stones and a capstone

Etymologies

Welsh : crom, feminine of crwm, arched + llech, stone.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Welsh, from crom (feminine of crwm ("bowed, arched")) + llech ("(flat) stone"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Some English writers apply the term cromlech to such a structure, quite incorrectly.

    Rough Stone Monuments and Their Builders

  • On firmer ground is coracle, which occurs in Salesbury's Dictionary in English and Welsh (1547) as the English equivalent of kwrwgyl ` round boat, 'and the archaeological term cromlech, which is used in Owen's Pembrokeshire

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol X No 2

  • And again beyond the cromlech was a hut, shaped like a beehive of straw, built of many stones most wonderfully, both walls and roof.

    A Prince of Cornwall A Story of Glastonbury and the West in the Days of Ina of Wessex

  • A dolmen (also known as cromlech (Welsh), anta, Hünengrab, Hunebed, Goindol, quoit, and portal dolmen) is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table).

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  • What you can see to the left of the cromlech is the fence, but foreshortened.

    Army Rumour Service

  • 444 A cromlech is a prehistoric arrangement of stones, a flat stone resting on three or more stones, often associated with a tomb.

    Later Articles and Reviews

  • Dr. Owain Pughe considered the word "cromlech" (_crwm-llech_, an inclined or flat stone,) to be merely a popular name, having no reference to the original purpose of the structure.

    Notes and Queries, Number 25, April 20, 1850

  • When these stones form an ellipse, and have no head-covering, one must say: There is a "cromlech"; when one perceives a stone laid horizontally upon two upright stones, one is confronted by a "lichaven" or a "trilithe."

    Over Strand and Field

  • The "cromlech," i.e. a huge flattish stone resting on three stones set upright, of which we have so many examples in Great Britain, is not represented in Japan excepting where a group of dolmens has been long used as a quarry for building stones.

    Archaeologia, or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity [microform]

  • Their castles he was acquainted with from turret to foundation-stone; and as for the miscellaneous antiquities scattered about the country, he knew every one of them, from a cromlech to a cairn, and could give as good an account of each as if he had lived in the time of the Danes or Druids.

    The Monastery

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