Definition of tomb in English:

tomb

noun

  • 1A large vault, typically an underground one, for burying the dead.

    • ‘The shrine was once a beautiful golden palace but the years had worn away its natural beauty and now only some walls, statues and the underground tombs remained.’
    • ‘Oh yes, some of those tombs and vaults are more than 250 years old.’
    • ‘The tomb, which is situated in the church of San Giovanni Rotondo, in Foggia, southern Italy, is visited by almost seven million people a year.’
    • ‘He is buried in an elaborate tomb in New York, a place he never liked.’
    • ‘In 1612, her son and the now king of England, James, brought his mother's body to Westminster Abbey where she was buried in a magnificent tomb.’
    • ‘Finally, elaborate megalithic art in Ireland is found only at passage tombs.’
    • ‘The marble tombs had been smashed open and the bones and skulls lay scattered carelessly around the overgrown graveyard.’
    • ‘The megalithic passage tomb is illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise.’
    • ‘These range in date from the pre-Reformation tombs in St Magnus Cathedral to memorials erected after the Second World War.’
    • ‘It is England's oldest borough; Athelstan, the first king of England was initially buried here and his tomb remains in the abbey.’
    • ‘One can be gripped by a vague feeling of claustrophobia, as if entering an underground tomb.’
    • ‘These funeral towers, or chullpas, have been heavily looted and were empty, but skeletons were found in the underground tombs.’
    • ‘Most knights' bones never got into charnels; they were safely enclosed in tombs inside a church.’
    • ‘The corpse was moved from the private bedchamber to the tomb in a public procession not unlike that at a wedding, with the family marching in hierarchical order.’
    • ‘This is the town where Padro Pio spent most of his life and is buried in the tomb in the friary.’
    • ‘He was buried ‘in the bare earth’ as he requested, not in a marble tomb like many of his predecessors.’
    • ‘However, the underground chambers of the tombs are well preserved, though they have long been emptied of their contents.’
    • ‘The main body of the tomb was set into the hillside and covered with earth thereby using the heat of the earth to keep the building from freezing.’
    • ‘This woman died and was buried in her family tomb.’
    • ‘From the late Middle Ages onward, Italian churches were increasingly filled with an abundance of elaborate family tombs.’
    burial chamber, burial place, sepulchre, mausoleum, vault, crypt, undercroft, catacomb, pyramid, charnel house, shrine, ossuary, reliquary
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An enclosure for a corpse cut in the earth or in rock.
      • ‘It is apparent that this is a rich man's tomb, carefully carved out of solid rock.’
      • ‘The elite were often buried in log-lined tombs within the charnel houses, accompanied by a selection of rich grave goods.’
      • ‘The corpse is washed, wrapped in a shroud, carried to the cemetery by a group of mourners, and buried in a tomb.’
      • ‘Our junket included stops at the ruins of a Roman coliseum, a sulfur mud bath, and some ancient Lycean rock tombs - all sites inaccessible by car or bus.’
      • ‘Among the monuments is the tomb in the north aisle of Sir Robert Dormer, a rare example of early Renaissance work, dated 1552.’
      • ‘Although Spencer created many wildly imaginative scenes such as the dead rising from their tombs in the churchyard, nearly all his paintings were set in the Berkshire village of Cookham where he lived.’
      • ‘Important individuals were typically interred in log-lined tombs which were burnt and then covered by a conical earth mound up to 20m high.’
      • ‘The body was discovered by grave diggers who went to the cemetery to prepare a tomb and were then drawn to the corpse by a screaming passer-by.’
      • ‘On this day, families visit the tombs of their ancestors and clean the burial ground.’
      • ‘In 1923 Sir Flinders Petrie found another cache of fossils at Qua, wrapped in linen and carefully stored in rock tombs.’
      • ‘All join in pushing the earth to cover the tombs.’
      • ‘‘It is sad but we are relieved that we will now be able to bury him and visit his tomb when we want,’ he said.’
      • ‘It is believed that corpses that have been removed from their tombs may be turned into zombies, who then serve the will of their masters.’
      • ‘Others tell of how our ancestors treated their dead, through their tombs and graves - which have often been excavated by archaeologists.’
      • ‘It's also the city of the dead that Cèline remembers having visited as a child, of the nameless tombs of suicides and of Mozart buried in a pauper's grave.’
      • ‘It resembles the rock cut chambered tombs of the Mediterranean, though it is probably of local inspiration.’
    2. 1.2 A monument to the memory of a dead person, erected over their burial place.
      • ‘Rich merchants erected extravagant public buildings and temples and tombs, living and dying in sumptuous style.’
      • ‘Abera is now a worthy successor to his great predecessor, whose premature death in 1973 is marked by a monumental tomb in Addis Ababa.’
      • ‘The Romans erected a tomb in his honor inscribed with the image of a sphere within a cylinder in tribute to his great mathematical discoveries.’
      • ‘Once freed of its contents, it became possible to examine the wall paintings in the only decorated room in the entire tomb, the burial chamber.’
      • ‘The magnificent tomb over the burial place, with its shrine-like features, is court art: court art carried from Westminster to Gloucester.’
      • ‘The tomb, situated in an elevated position at the end of a rocky gorge, is a well-preserved architectural and artistic masterpiece.’
      • ‘Perhaps the most outstanding manifestation of such devotion is the Taj Mahal, erected by the Mogul emperor Shah Jehan as a tomb for his dead wife.’
      • ‘This tomb is situated 280 km from Mumbai and 190 km away from Nasik.’
      • ‘The increasingly centralised organisation of the third millennium BC created a disciplined labour force, which was used to build vast royal monuments and elite tombs.’
      • ‘He asks Wiglaf to build a monument, a tomb where King Beowulf's ashes will be buried, a high tower over the old one, so sailors will see it and speak of it forevermore.’
      • ‘In Egypt pyramids were used as monumental tombs, whereas in Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, and South America they were temple platforms.’
      • ‘Elizabethan monuments were not only funeral buildings like tombs, churches or charnel-houses.’
      • ‘The second type of tomb was erected as a monument to honour the dead and to preserve their memory.’
      • ‘This Greek-temple-like tomb was erected in 1901 by Dr John Springthorpe, in memory of his wife Annie, who had died in childbirth four years earlier.’
      • ‘The monumental tomb was an identical copy of the tomb of Lenin, which can still be seen in Moscow.’
      • ‘Her son Henry erected a tomb over her grave at Fontevraud.’
      • ‘The burial was not within the tomb itself, but along the external walls of the monument.’
      • ‘The great pyramids were burial tombs for the pharaohs who were revered as gods on earth.’
      • ‘Initially it was thought that the Maya pyramids did not serve as tombs, but recent explorations have identified burial sites within some of them.’
      • ‘The project's main aim was to study monumental tombs and funerary practices - a tough enough task on its own - and in the applications for funding we hadn't dared mention the hunt for a shipwrecked sailor.’
    3. 1.3 Used in similes and metaphors to refer to a place or situation that is extremely cold, quiet, or dark, or that forms a confining enclosure.
      ‘the house was as quiet as a tomb’
      • ‘Before the sirens, the confusion saw cutting metal freeing her from a tomb of steel.’
      • ‘Inside was as dark as a tomb.’
      • ‘She glared at the him with fire in her eyes, but she held her peace as both stared each other down while the room became quiet as a tomb.’
      • ‘The parking garage sprawled in front of me, quiet as a tomb.’
      • ‘When Lord Rawley's butler announced Amanda, the ballroom turned as quiet as a tomb.’
      • ‘The right wing hall stood empty and quiet as a tomb.’
      • ‘The inside of the camp was quiet as a tomb and Dallas didn't feel very welcome in it.’
      • ‘She's whipped the place into shape and everything's sparkly clean, not to mention the fact that the place is as quiet as a tomb, aside from the tapping of keyboards or phone ringing.’
      • ‘His footsteps were ten times louder when there was no other sound; no servants working or glass trinkets falling made the palace quieter than a tomb.’
      • ‘But the space was small enough to feel as if the walls were closing in, and it was dark as a tomb.’
      • ‘For three days now you've been quiet at a tomb and almost sullen.’
      • ‘The top of the house seems to go on forever, as dark and quiet as a tomb.’
      • ‘The door to the office shut out the noise in the hall outside; inside, it was quiet as a tomb.’
      • ‘The cell was as quiet as a tomb.’
    4. 1.4the tombliterary Death.
      ‘none escape the tomb’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French tombe, from late Latin tumba, from Greek tumbos.

Pronunciation

tomb

/tuːm/