Definition of charnel in English:

charnel

noun

  • short for charnel house
    • ‘The charnel was pulled down after the Reformation.’
    • ‘These charnel facilities consisted of a shallow limestone-lined pit, made from a single layer of horizontal slabs that were laid out on a prepared subsoil surface.’
    • ‘Most knights' bones never got into charnels; they were safely enclosed in tombs inside a church.’
    • ‘Some say it was merely a charnel pit - a functional repository of massed human bone.’
    • ‘Undoubtedly the charnel features had many other meanings to the people who used them, ones that leave no archaeologically identifiable traces.’

adjective

  • Associated with death:

    ‘I gagged on the charnel stench of the place’
    • ‘The symbolic suitability of dark and dismal weather, however, is not the main reason Mary Shelley selected this particular month for the nativity of Victor's charnel creature.’
    • ‘A charnel stench filled the air and made them recoil in disgust.’
    • ‘It is argued, based on archaeological and ethnohistoric data, that the layout of the mound, burials, and charnel features is patterned after Native American notions of the cosmos.’
    • ‘Between them both sides lost half a million men and how many still lie buried in that charnel soil may never be known.’
    • ‘A foul odor of decaying flesh permeated the air of this subterranean charnel chamber.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French, from medieval Latin carnale, neuter (used as a noun) of carnalis relating to flesh (see carnal).

Pronunciation:

charnel

/ˈtʃɑːn(ə)l/