Definition of crypt in US English:



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

    • ‘There were people grieving by their family's mausoleums and crypts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The following March she was dead, after catching a chill, and buried in the church crypt.’
    • ‘The upper chamber houses their decorative graves amidst profusely inscribed gilted walls while their actual tombs are in a crypt below.’
    • ‘He was buried in St Gregory's vault in the crypt of St Paul's.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 route threads through and terminates in the crypt of the Lutheran church where the cultural centre was originally housed.’
    • ‘Thirteen additional art works were packed into the central aisle, adjacent chapels and underground crypts of the church.’
    • ‘At the inauguration of the column, the bodies of the martyrs of the revolution were transferred to a crypt beneath the statue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Around three times as many people are now taking guided tours, and visiting the undercroft, treasury and crypt.’
    • ‘The ancient cathedral that is an epitome of love also has an underground crypt and a small museum for the visitors.’
    • ‘Many students were memorised by the history associated with the ancient crypt of the cathedral.’
    • ‘They were in what seemed to be an underground crypt.’
    • ‘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 tomb of King Wladyslaw the Short is the oldest in the cathedral crypt.’
    • ‘In Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and Venezuela they established their own burial crypts and cemeteries.’
    tomb, vault, mausoleum, burial chamber, sepulchre, catacomb, ossuary, undercroft
    View synonyms
  • 2Anatomy
    A small tubular gland, pit, or recess.

    • ‘The pharyngeal tonsil does not possess true crypts but rather widened ducts of underlying glands.’
    • ‘There was no atypical gland or crypt abscess in the 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.’
    • ‘Late stages show damaged and regenerating crypts intermixed with normal mucosa.’
    • ‘The epithelium, often with villi, crypts, and glands, simulates the normal mucosa of the gut.’


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