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[sem-i-ter-ee] /ˈsɛm ɪˌtɛr i/
noun, plural cemeteries.
an area set apart for or containing graves, tombs, or funeral urns, especially one that is not a churchyard; burial ground; graveyard.
Origin of cemetery
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Late Latin coemētērium < Greek koimētḗrion a sleeping place, equivalent to koimē- (variant stem of koimân to put to sleep) + -tērion suffix of locality Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cemetery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Cautiously I raised my head and looked in the direction whence the sound came; but the cemetery blocked my view.

    Dracula's Guest Bram Stoker
  • Already a few who had arrived were playing marbles on the stones of the cemetery.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • He had imagined it would be an easy matter to have the General transferred to the cemetery and the mortuary chapel demolished.

    The Enemies of Women Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • In the evening in summer he took his little girl with him and led her to the cemetery.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • And now she was in her twenty-fifth year again, and driving through Rome to the English cemetery.

    Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman
British Dictionary definitions for cemetery


noun (pl) -teries
a place where the dead are buried, esp one not attached to a church
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin coemētērium, from Greek koimētērion room for sleeping, from koiman to put to sleep
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 cemetery

late 14c., from Old French cimetiere "graveyard" (12c.), from Late Latin coemeterium, from Greek koimeterion "sleeping place, dormitory," from koiman "to put to sleep," keimai "I lie down," from PIE root *kei- "to lie, rest," also "bed, couch," hence secondary sense of "beloved, dear" (cf. Greek keisthai "to lie, lie asleep," Old Church Slavonic semija "family, domestic servants," Lithuanian šeima "domestic servants," Lettish sieva "wife," Old English hiwan "members of a household," higid "measure of land," Latin cunae "a cradle," Sanskrit Sivah "propitious, gracious"). Early Christian writers were the first to use it for "burial ground," though the Greek word also had been anciently used in reference to the sleep of death. An Old English word for "cemetery" was licburg.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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