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1A building or vault in which corpses or bones are piled.
- ‘The elite were often buried in log-lined tombs within the charnel houses, accompanied by a selection of rich grave goods.’
- ‘In preparation for his monstrous experiment Victor scours charnel houses, places for vivisection, and graveyards, for parts from which to assemble his New Adam or Modern Prometheus, which is the novel's subtitle.’
- ‘The dancing figures on the walls of the charnel house or the church were there to remind their audience that death was to be found everywhere.’
- ‘The burial rites involved placing the dead person in a charnel house made of wooden posts, burning it, and then constructing a mound over the top.’
- ‘It was only last year that the first memorial to fallen Germans was erected in the city now called Volgograd and vast numbers of corpses remain stacked in primitive charnel houses awaiting burial at a time when wounds are not so raw.’
- 1.1 A place associated with violent death.‘Europe in the immediate postwar period had become a charnel house’
- ‘Long before those thirty seconds expired, however, the street had become a charnel house.’
- ‘The hospital was a scene of appalling suffering - a charnel house.’
- ‘During World War I, as Europe became a charnel house, the Cubists remained in the Parisian cafés investigating the finer points of form.’
- ‘Without thought of where he was going, only knowing he had to get away, he ran off down the dirt driveway, away from the main road and the charnel house he had just vacated.’
- ‘If they are now less fond of war, it's because that once battle-happy place has suffered the object lesson of having their continent reduced to a charnel house twice in 30 years.’
Mid 16th century: from Middle English charnel burying place from Old French, from medieval Latin carnale, from late Latin carnalis relating to flesh from caro, carn- flesh.
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