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

  • n. A stone coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stone coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture.
  • n. The cement and steel structure that encases the destroyed reactor at the power station in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A species of limestone used among the Greeks for making coffins, which was so called because it consumed within a few weeks the flesh of bodies deposited in it. It is otherwise called lapis Assius, or Assian stone, and is said to have been found at Assos, a city of Lycia.
  • n. A coffin or chest-shaped tomb of the kind of stone described above; hence, any stone coffin.
  • n. A stone shaped like a sarcophagus and placed by a grave as a memorial.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A species of stone used among the Greeks for making coffins. It was called by the Romans lapis Assius, from being found at Assos, a city of the Troad.
  • n. A stone coffin, especially one ornamented with sculptures or bearing inscriptions, etc.
  • n. A peculiar wine-cooler forming part of a dining-room sideboard about the end of the eighteenth century: it was a dark mahogany box, lined with lead.

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

  • n. a stone coffin (usually bearing sculpture or inscriptions)


Latin, from Greek sarkophagos, coffin, from (lithos) sarkophagos, limestone that consumed the flesh of corpses laid in it : sarx, sark-, flesh + -phagos, -phagous.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French sarcophage, from Latin sarcophagus, from Ancient Greek σαρκοφάγος ("coffin of limestone", n), so named from a supposed property of consuming the flesh of corpses laid in it, from σαρκοφάγος ("flesh-eating, carnivorous"), from genitive σαρκός of σάρξ ("flesh, meat") + -φάγος (from ἔφαγον, past of φαγεῖν ("to eat")) (Wiktionary)



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  • "A fleeting glimmer of light surrounded him, and then the casket thudded back down. Langdon lay panting in the dark. He tried to use his legs to lift as he had before, but now that the sarcophagus had fallen flat, there was no room even to straighten his knees.
    As the claustrophobic panic closed in, Langdon was overcome by images of the sarcophagus shrinking around him. Squeezed by delirium, he fought the illusion with every logical shred of intellect he had.
    'Sarcophagus,' he stated alound, with as much academic sterility as he could muster. But even erudition seemed to be his enemy today. Sarcophagus is from the Greek 'sarx' meaning 'flesh', and 'phagein' meaning 'to eat'. I'm trapped in a box literally designed to 'eat flesh'."
    - 'Angels and Demons', Dan Brown.

    February 28, 2008

  • "Flesh eating" see sarcasm.

    September 26, 2007