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[kal-vuh-ree] /ˈkæl və ri/
noun, plural Calvaries for 2, 3.
Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. Luke 23:33.
(often lowercase) a sculptured representation of the Crucifixion, usually erected in the open air.
(lowercase) an experience or occasion of extreme suffering, especially mental suffering.
Origin of Calvary
< Late Latin Calvāria Calvary < Latin calvāria a skull, used to translate Greek kraníon cranium, itself a translation of the Aramaic name; see Golgotha
Can be confused
Calvary, cavalry.
Pronunciation note
See irrelevant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Calvary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "The best plan would be to climb to the Calvary," said M. de Guersaint.

  • It was understood that the left wing of the 1st corps was to take care of the Calvary of Illy.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • An impassioned mother, she had been ascending her Calvary ever since her son's death.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • What matter if it was hard; if it was difficult; if it was bitter as Marah and steep as Calvary?

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Such was the first step on the Calvary he intended to ascend.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for Calvary


noun (pl) -ries
(often capital) a representation of Christ's crucifixion, usually sculptured and in the open air
any experience involving great suffering


the place just outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified Also called Golgotha
Word Origin
from Late Latin Calvāria, translation of Greek kranion skull, translation of Aramaic gulgulta Golgotha
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Calvary

name of the mount of the Crucifixion, late 14c., from Latin Calvaria (Greek Kraniou topos), translating Aramaic gulgulta "place of the skull" (see Golgotha). Rendered literally in Old English as Heafodpannan stow. Latin Calvaria is related to calvus "bald" (see Calvin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Calvary in Culture

Calvary definition

The hill near Jerusalem on which Jesus was crucified. The name is Latin for “Place of the Skull”; it is also called Golgotha. (See Crucifixion.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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