Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Sepulchre

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is sepulchre. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Sepulchre is an old-fashioned word for a tomb or other place of burial. 

// A group of archaeologists discovered an ancient sepulchre filled not only with the bones of deceased people but also their apparently beloved pets.

SEPULCHRE in Context

“Unlike the Romans, though, for some 3,000 years of their history what the Egyptians mostly left behind was tombs. A pyramid is a sepulchre for the rich and powerful, but they liked to be buried with their possessions—so it’s also a gigantic ‘X marks the spot.’ The sands and cities of Egypt are riddled with three millennia of buried treasure…” — Christopher Hart, The Daily Mail (London), 1 Sept. 2022

Did You Know?

The history of sepulchre is a grave tale. The earliest evidence in our files traces sepulchre(also spelled sepulcher) back to Middle English around the beginning of the 13th century. It was originally spelled sepulcre, as it was in Anglo-French. Like many words borrowed into English from French, sepulchre has roots buried in Latin; in this case the root is sepelire, a verb meaning “to bury.” Sepultus, the past participle of sepelire, gave us—also by way of Anglo-French—the related noun sepulture, a synonym of burial and sepulchre, but one whose contemporary use is much rarer.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply