from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A repository for the bones or bodies of the dead; a charnel house.
  • adjective Resembling, suggesting, or suitable for receiving the dead.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A hinge, as of a door, window, chest, etc.
  • noun The pivot or hinge on which the beaver or vizor of a helmet moved.
  • noun A common repository for dead bodies; a place for the indiscriminate or close deposit of the remains, and especially of the bones, of the dead; a charnel-house.
  • Containing or designed to contain flesh or dead bodies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A charnel house; a grave; a cemetery.
  • adjective Containing the bodies of the dead.
  • adjective a tomb, vault, cemetery, or other place where the bones of the dead are deposited; originally, a place for the bones thrown up when digging new graves in old burial grounds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A chapel attached to a mortuary.
  • noun A repository for dead bodies.
  • adjective Of or relating to a charnel, deathlike, sepulchral.

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

  • noun a vault or building where corpses or bones are deposited
  • adjective gruesomely indicative of death or the dead


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin carnāle, from neuter of Latin carnālis, of the flesh, from carō, carn-, flesh; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French charnel < Late Latin carnāle ("graveyard") < Latin carnālis, or possibly an alteration of Anglo-Norman charner < Medieval Latin carnārium ("charnel").



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  • This word is way too pretty for what it means. Hey reesetee--maybe it should be on your "Worse Than It Sounds" list?

    November 11, 2007

  • Really? Hmm. I always thought this word sounded creepy. And its root means "flesh."

    November 11, 2007

  • Really? What about the root of char then? Are they related? Signed, Too Lazy to Go Look.

    November 11, 2007

  • It's related to carnal (charnel, that is). Char is pretty interesting, from what I can find. Each meaning of the word has a different derivation. "Char" meaning "to burn" comes, not surprisingly, from charcoal. "Char" the fish and "char" as in charwoman comes from Old English ceorra, "turner," derived from ceorran "to turn." And "char" as in the British informal word for tea (really? I've never heard this before) is from the Hindi c�?, which means, of course, "tea."

    I guess I should have put all of this on the char page. :-)

    November 11, 2007

  • "4. The pivot or hinge on which the beaver or vizor of a helmet moved."

    --Century Dictionary

    April 6, 2011