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

  • n. A vault with niches for urns containing ashes of the dead.
  • n. One of the niches in such a vault.
  • n. A dovecote.
  • n. A pigeonhole in a dovecote.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a dovecote; one of the pigeonholes in a dovecote
  • n. a large, sometimes architecturally impressive building for housing a large colony of pigeons, particularly those of ancien regime France.
  • n. a building, a vault or some similar place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns containing cremated remains, or a niche in such a place

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dovecote or pigeon house.
  • n. A sepulchral chamber with niches for holding cinerary urns.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. . A dovecote; a pigeon-house. Also columbary.
  • n. In Roman antiquity, a place of sepulture for the ashes of the dead, consisting of arched and square-headed recesses formed in walls, in which the cinerary urns were deposited: so named from the resemblance between these recesses and those formed in a dove-cote for the doves to build their nests in.
  • n. In architecture, a hole left in a wall for the insertion of the end of a beam. Also called putlog-hole.
  • n. Eccles., the columba or dove-shaped pyx. See columba, 3.

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

  • n. a birdhouse for pigeons
  • n. a niche for a funeral urn containing the ashes of the cremated dead
  • n. a sepulchral vault or other structure having recesses in the walls to receive cinerary urns


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

Latin columbārium, sepulchre for urns, dovecote, from columba, dove.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin from columba, dove


  • The funerary vault, or Monumentum Liviae, contained the cremated remains of more than a thousand Roman slaves and freedmen, their ashes packed in row upon row of ollae burial jars stacked in tiny niches around the vault, like pigeonholes; hence the name columbarium, meaning “dovecote.”

    Caesars’ Wives

  • If a tomb was fitted up to contain many funeral ash-urns, it was known as a columbarium, or dove-cote (_columba_, a dove), the ashes of the freedmen and even slaves being placed in niches covered by lids and bearing inscriptions.

    The Story of Rome from the Earliest Times to the End of the Republic

  • A door in the wall, on the left of the approach to the grotto, and a very steep staircase, lead to the columbarium, which is situated in a pretty fruit-garden.

    Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 8 Italy and Greece, Part Two

  • The university wants to build what's called a columbarium -- a structure with niches for the ashes of alumni -- but there's a catch.

    South Florida - South Florida Recipes

  • The university wants to build what's called a columbarium - a structure with niches for the ashes of alumni - but there's a catch.


  • A source of comfort and a favoured place of contemplation for the bereaved family, the columbarium is a receptacle where urns containing the ashes of a loved one are placed.

    Kootenay Rockies - News

  • Interment options at Augusta Memorial Park are a traditional ground space, a "columbarium" or cremation niche in a wall, a public mausoleum and a "private family estate" or standalone mausoleum. -

  • He set it out in a 120x120 frame he termed a "columbarium" (i.e. a dovecote, which has a similar grid of niches) and records that it took him nine years to calculate, even with the newly imported technique of ‘algorism ', calculation with Arabic numerals rather than abacus.

    The Mandelbrot Monk

  • Since the IG report was released, two other families with relatives whose ashes were placed in the cemetery's columbarium asked that their niches be opened, Horst said.

    Scope of burial mistakes at Arlington is a mystery

  • Her ashes rest in the Cypress Lawn columbarium at Colma, far from the Atherton family crypt.

    Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948)


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  • Yeah, milos! Good to see you!

    October 28, 2011

  • Just learnt the highly surprising but etymological no-brainer sense of dovecot(e) the other day from "Waverly". Century #2 is helpful as always in elucidation of "why the heck".

    October 28, 2011

  • "Hassan Ibn Abbou's tomb is in a columbarium in Antony, a suburb of Paris. . ." Gilbert Adair translation of Georges Perec's La Disparition

    August 11, 2010