Definition of sepulchral in US English:



  • 1Relating to a tomb or interment.

    ‘sepulchral monuments’
    • ‘A maze of sterile-looking, particle-board cubicles had been erected in the room and the lights dimmed to a sepulchral twilight.’
    • ‘Shafts of direct sunlight are carefully choreographed to shine down directly onto the altar, their intensity emphasized by the sepulchral semi-darkness of the surroundings.’
    • ‘The men halted and whipped around to see a sepulchral ghost approach them.’
    • ‘Mother and son lie together, sepulchral white sheets covering them, rejoined in a kind of death, and David can finally close his eyes and dream.’
    • ‘One is reminded of the painted marble disc of the doctor Aineas, of late Archaic date, but that almost certainly was a sepulchral monument, and in any case can never have been mounted on a pillar in this fashion.’
    • ‘Even the most magnificent landscapes are powerless without figures, not forgetting Poussin's Arcadia, were it devoid of the shepherds and the sepulchral inscription.’
    • ‘C. Lefevre's 1907 monument in Paris for Emile Levassor, who died in a car crash, employed the full repertoire of classical sepulchral art.’
    • ‘The author of a treatise on sepulchral urns lately discovered in Norfolk was moved to comment.’
    • ‘The figure of Christ, his sepulchral pallor set off by a shroud of tender pink, confronts the viewer with awesome directness.’
    • ‘Unintelligible Latinisms litter the insides of the booklet, awkwardly coupling with sepulchral imagery.’
    • ‘Tell us the worst, they said - and when I did, the silence was sepulchral.’
    • ‘Now our stone may differ a little from the general run of Holed Stones found in many of the sepulchral monuments to be found in Western Europe to India.’
    • ‘In the sepulchral gloom of the strip club two other dancers are substituted.’
    • ‘The tenuous suggestion that Stonehenge may thus be a sepulchral monument, is perhaps strengthened by the large number of burial mounds in the surrounding landscape.’
    • ‘Gossip, therefore, died and a sepulchral silence descended on the shop except for the customers' self-obsessed questions and the barber's answers.’
    • ‘Old relics dotted the entrance beyond; knots of yarn and wool rippled, brightly-colored etchings which reflected dully in the sepulchral gloom.’
    • ‘Someone sitting on a vinyl picnic chair in a rumpled gray robe sat with his back to the door, long legs dangling over a four-foot tall ornamental railing built from a row of white sepulchral urns.’
    1. 1.1 Gloomy; dismal.
      ‘a speech delivered in sepulchral tones’
      • ‘The whole ensemble has a sepulchral quality, and it is no surprise to learn that the work was created in memory of the artist's father, who died last year.’
      • ‘You wouldn't think it appropriate in this day and age to describe a voice on a telephone as sepulchral, would you?’
      • ‘Lee's sepulchral tones and commanding presence made the architect of evil a character to relish.’
      • ‘He has a point: it would hardly be right to wear a sparkly suit and tight trousers while singing stark, sepulchral songs about death, pain and sorrow in a voice like the wind whistling through his old Appalachian bones.’
      • ‘Climbing on to the roof one winter night, knowing they were sitting round the fire, he called down the chimney in a sepulchral voice, ‘Joseph and Elizabeth, the Lord commandeth thee to go to the Salt Lake City.’’
      • ‘The sepulchral hyper-meticulousness of his previous film is here opened up with the wide coastal and oceanic setting.’
      • ‘He does not, it must be said, match one's idea of a funeral director, being neither gaunt nor sepulchral.’
      • ‘These Germans have only dropped the speed and abrasion in seeking a new kind of heavy/scary and formulating their unique style of sepulchral lounge jazz.’
      • ‘The funeral was a sepulchral mix of tears, pain, and black clothes.’
      • ‘The sepulchral formality of the serious restaurant was gone.’
      • ‘The sad fact is, plenty of high-performing companies have positively sepulchral atmospheres, with employees who pretty much loathe their cipherlike existences.’
      • ‘The shade of corruption laid a sepulchral pall over the land, affecting all in its wake.’
      • ‘It was a delightful characterisation, underpinned by that wonderfully dark and sepulchral voice, used musically and never overdone.’
      • ‘The row over ties and over which news organisation had been the more sepulchral (or had more pages, more black borders, sections, pages etc) rumbled all week and became a story in its own right.’
      • ‘What makes it so remarkable is how sepulchral the voices are.’
      • ‘I don't want to make this sound too sepulchral, because it's supposed to be fun telly, but at the same time we just can't help being amazed at the people we do it for, and the community commitment they have.’
      • ‘He speaks in resigned, sepulchral tones, and seems to have a strange affinity toward shadows and corners.’
      gloomy, lugubrious, sombre, melancholy, melancholic, sad, sorrowful, mournful, doleful, mirthless, cheerless, joyless, funereal, dismal
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Early 17th century: from French sépulchral or Latin sepulchralis, from sepulcrum (see sepulcher).