Definition of sepulcher in US English:


(British sepulchre)


  • A small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried.

    • ‘Both deny charges of ‘violating a sepulchre without the authority of the relatives or executors of said unknown person’.’
    • ‘Large family sepulchers featuring urns, statues of angels, and obelisks, spread out as far as the eye can see.’
    • ‘And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.’
    • ‘In contrast, Moses arranged for his own discreet burial so that ‘no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day’.’
    • ‘Deep inside, St. Francis' bones are locked away in a sepulcher, the immense weight of the Basilica - a place he would have hated - weighing down on top of him.’
    • ‘And he took it down, wrapped it in a long linen swathing cloth, and laid it in an unused sepulchre hewn from the rock.’
    • ‘His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers.’
    • ‘Hardening my heart with all the memories of the times mother and I visited the sepulcher where father's ashes lay in the soil, I put another foot forward.’
    • ‘In fact, you might just want to cut out the middleman and head on over to the nearest cemetery - your dream date may in fact have been skulking around the local sepulchres, and you never even knew.’
    • ‘He got to a sepulcher where four Satanists were gathered.’
    • ‘For instance, armour and other trophies were often displayed above sepulchres.’
    • ‘So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.’
    • ‘The most moving moment, and one that I had not anticipated, happened during my descent to the sepulcher holding the body of St. James.’
    • ‘The place seemed as an open tomb, an unsealed sepulcher, a deathly resting place, quietly awaiting corpses to crowd its halls and fulfill its purpose.’
    • ‘And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?’
    • ‘He sees the stone rolled away from the grave of Lazarus and three men approach the sepulchre where the man's body lies.’
    • ‘All around, she could feel the shapes of sepulchres and headstones.’
    • ‘The picture provides this legend with monumentality since it turns it into an act of mourning performed on a sepulchre.’
    • ‘The public had been kept clear of the tomb, and it is unclear what level of access there had been to the king's remains before they were replaced in a new sepulchre.’
    • ‘In the ritual of internment, the slab is rolled back from the sepulchre and the coffin is lowered down to the chamber below.’
    tomb, vault, burial place, burial chamber, crypt, catacomb, mausoleum, sarcophagus, pyramid
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[with object]literary
  • 1Lay or bury in or as if in a sepulcher.

    ‘tomes are soon out of print and sepulchered in the dust of libraries’
    bury, lay to rest, consign to the grave, entomb, inurn
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    1. 1.1 Serve as a burial place for.
      ‘when ocean shrouds and sepulchers our dead’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin sepulcrum ‘burial place’, from sepelire ‘bury’.