Definitions

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

  • n. A subterranean chamber of an ancient building.
  • n. An ancient subterranean burial chamber, such as a catacomb.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An underground room or cavern (also used figuratively).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The subterraneous portion of a building, as in amphitheaters, for the service of the games; also, subterranean galleries, as the catacombs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In architecture, that part of a building which is below the level of the ground, including cellars, vaults, etc.; also, any underground construction, chamber, etc., as the syringes of ancient Egypt, or the tombs of the Etruscans. Also hypogee.

Etymologies

Latin hypogēum, from Greek hupogeion, from neuter of hupogeios, underground; see hypogeal.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin hypogaeum, from Ancient Greek ὑπόγειον, a noun use of the neuter singular of ὑπόγειος ("underground"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The only important hypogeum which is wholly Jewish in its arrangement, and may consequently belong to an earlier or to any epoch, is that known as the tombs of the prophets, in the western flank of the Mount of Olives.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • Before the amazed eyes of the congregation, a cascade of white petals descends from the coffered ceiling, blanketing the hypogeum.

    The Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

  • To be the steward of an entire hypogeum, and particularly, as I was in my youth, to be steward of my Hypogeum Apotropaic in the time of Father Inire, requires the most unremitting effort; one has hardly a watch in which to sleep.

    The Urth of the New Sun

  • Then the great doors of lapis lazuli and silver at the most distant end of the Hypogeum Amaranthine -- doors used in my reign only for solemn processions and the ceremonial presentations of extern ambassadors -- were flung wide; and this time it was not a lone officer who burst into the hypogeum but two score troopers, each brandishing a fusil or a blazing spear.

    The Urth of the New Sun

  • In the Roman necropolis, along the Kairwan road, several interesting discoveries were made, among them a hypogeum containing several frescoes in fair preservation, containing curious figures and inscriptions, and also some inscriptions on marble or stucco.

    The American Journal of Archaeology, 1893-1

  • Upon the door of the hypogeum, which still remains, is the following inscription in marble: --

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • In two of the largest chambers in the hypogeum the roof and walls are still decorated with designs in red paint.

    Rough Stone Monuments and Their Builders

  • It is in this room that the remarkable nature of the work in the hypogeum is most apparent.

    Rough Stone Monuments and Their Builders

  • The finest instance of this is the Halsaflieni hypogeum in Malta, where the solid rock is hewn out with infinite care to imitate the form and even the details of surface building.

    Rough Stone Monuments and Their Builders

  • Nor has he failed in his intention, for, as one moves from room to room in the hypogeum, one certainly has the feeling of being in a building constructed of separate blocks and not merely cut in the solid rock.

    Rough Stone Monuments and Their Builders

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  • n. pl. hy·po·ge·a (-j)
    1. A subterranean chamber of an ancient building.
    2. An ancient subterranean burial chamber, such as a catacomb

    December 16, 2007