Definition of crypt in US English:



  • 1An underground room or vault beneath a church, used as a chapel or burial place.

    • ‘It's not that uncommon to get some mummification in church crypts, but to get such good mummification with so many bodies is quite exceptional.’
    • ‘At the inauguration of the column, the bodies of the martyrs of the revolution were transferred to a crypt beneath the statue.’
    • ‘In the catacombs of the Capuchin crypt beneath Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome, the bones of 4000 monks are arranged in Baroque patterns on the ceilings.’
    • ‘The following March she was dead, after catching a chill, and buried in the church crypt.’
    • ‘There were people grieving by their family's mausoleums and crypts.’
    • ‘In Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and Venezuela they established their own burial crypts and cemeteries.’
    • ‘The ancient cathedral that is an epitome of love also has an underground crypt and a small museum for the visitors.’
    • ‘The route threads through and terminates in the crypt of the Lutheran church where the cultural centre was originally housed.’
    • ‘Around three times as many people are now taking guided tours, and visiting the undercroft, treasury and crypt.’
    • ‘The tomb of King Wladyslaw the Short is the oldest in the cathedral crypt.’
    • ‘It has also been suggested that the Romanesque crypt of the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Dromon may originally have been the mausoleum of Dardanus and his wife, Nevia Galla.’
    • ‘With its grid-pattern streets, one of France's best preserved colosseums, an amphitheatre and underground crypts much of this town has escaped the influence of the 20th century.’
    • ‘They were in what seemed to be an underground crypt.’
    • ‘He was buried in St Gregory's vault in the crypt of St Paul's.’
    • ‘Many students were memorised by the history associated with the ancient crypt of the cathedral.’
    • ‘More than 70 turtleback tombs - above-ground family crypts made from carved stones pieced together in elaborate arched domes - dot the landscape throughout the base.’
    • ‘It is thought possible that the bones could have been buried beneath an old crypt under the original chapel or that they could have been moved from a nearby burial site.’
    • ‘The upper chamber houses their decorative graves amidst profusely inscribed gilted walls while their actual tombs are in a crypt below.’
    • ‘Thirteen additional art works were packed into the central aisle, adjacent chapels and underground crypts of the church.’
    • ‘An anatomist was given access to his tomb by the Vatican half a century ago when repairs were being carried out to the crypt in the church at Bari, southern Italy, where his remains are kept.’
    tomb, vault, mausoleum, burial chamber, sepulchre, catacomb, ossuary, undercroft
    View synonyms
  • 2Anatomy
    A small tubular gland, pit, or recess.

    • ‘The epithelium, often with villi, crypts, and glands, simulates the normal mucosa of the gut.’
    • ‘There was no atypical gland or crypt abscess in the mucosa.’
    • ‘Late stages show damaged and regenerating crypts intermixed with normal mucosa.’
    • ‘Endoscopic biopsy of the distal duodenum is still the gold standard for diagnosis, showing marked changes in the intestinal mucosa with loss of villi and crypt hyperplasia.’
    • ‘The pharyngeal tonsil does not possess true crypts but rather widened ducts of underlying glands.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘cavern’): from Latin crypta, from Greek kruptē ‘a vault’, from kruptos ‘hidden’.