Definition of cerement in English:



mass nounhistorical
  • Waxed cloth for wrapping a corpse.

    • ‘More dramatic yet is the tomb of General William Hargrave, also in Westminster Abbey, by Louis - Francois Roubiliac, in which the deceased is shown breaking free of his cerements, apparently already confident of his salvation.’
    • ‘In an early scene, Hamlet begs the ghost to tell ‘Why thy canoniz'd bones… Have burst their cerements.’’
    • ‘The coffin was forced, the cerements torn, and the melancholy relics, clad in sackcloth, after being rattled for hours on moonless byways, were at length exposed to uttermost indignities before a class of gaping boys.’
    • ‘To be cured we we must rise from our graves and throw off the cerements of the dead.’
    winding sheet, grave clothes, burial clothes, cerements, chrisom
    View synonyms


Early 17th century (first used by Shakespeare in Hamlet, 1602): from cere (see cerecloth).