Definition of cenotaph in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈsɛnətaf//ˈsɛnətɑːf/


  • 1A monument to someone buried elsewhere, especially one commemorating people who died in a war.

    • ‘Today, it was the mayoral candidates' turn to stage demonstrations around the cenotaph.’
    • ‘A procession led by the Lord Mayor, Coun Roy Walters made its way from the town hall to the cenotaph in St Peter's Square where a memorial service took place.’
    • ‘The cenotaphs or other monuments locally had to be in public places and not hidden in churchyards.’
    • ‘More than 1,000 people ignored the rain and gathered round the cenotaph outside Rochdale Town Hall to pay their respects those who have laid down their lives during war.’
    • ‘After the main ceremony there was a briefer wreath laying at the cenotaph in Victory Gardens and luncheon at St. Mary's Catholic Church.’
    • ‘In the grounds, swathed in palm fronds, stands a marble cenotaph commemorating the dead of the Highland Light Infantry stationed in Karachi from 1898 to 1899.’
    • ‘The walls enclose a mosque and the cenotaphs of Abraham and his wife Sarah, and two of their sons along with their wives: Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.’
    • ‘Former commando George Bower, 82, of Southampton, would have liked to have seen a service at the cenotaph to remember the war dead.’
    • ‘From its size to its content, Inferno feels like a cenotaph, a monument dedicated to the memory of the victims.’
    • ‘Civic leaders and youth groups took part in the commemoration which included a march past, the laying of wreaths at the cenotaph and a service at Bury Parish Church led by Rev Dr John Findon.’
    • ‘Following a service there, the parade makes its way back to the cenotaph via Church Hill for a service of dedication.’
    • ‘I was very pleased to see a lot of youths at the Remembrance service at the cenotaph in Milnrow Memorial Park on Sunday morning.’
    • ‘But Coun Robert Heseltine said that earlier in the year the council had already agreed to repair and maintain the cenotaph and other war memorials in Skipton.’
    • ‘After the main ceremony in the school, the colour guard of RCMP and Rangers marched to the cenotaph in Victory Gardens, where they set the wreathes around the monument and sang the National Anthem.’
    • ‘Following a service, the parade marched back along Church Hill to the cenotaph for the Last Post / Reveille and a wreath-laying ceremony.’
    • ‘The march will proceed down Molesworth Street to the cenotaph for the commemorative Anzac Day service.’
    • ‘After the wreath laying ceremony at the cenotaph and the service at Holy Trinity Church conducted by Rev Botwright, the parade will march past the civic dignitaries and finally be dismissed in Newmarket Street.’
    • ‘In Bolton, two Falklands soldiers who were once enemies, but are now friends joined the remembrance service at the cenotaph.’
    • ‘Towns whose population has since dwindled to negligible still have their cenotaph or war memorial, as do schools and churches.’
    • ‘The cenotaphs offered commemoration when what was needed - then and now - was reconciliation.’
    1. 1.1The war memorial in Whitehall, London, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and erected in 1919–20.


Early 17th century: from French cénotaphe, from late Latin cenotaphium, from Greek kenos empty + taphos tomb.