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90s Slang You Should Know


[chahr-nl] /ˈtʃɑr nl/
a repository for dead bodies.
of, like, or fit for a charnel; deathlike; sepulchral.
Origin of charnel
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin carnāle, noun and adj. use of neuter of carnālis 'carnal
Can be confused
Chanel, channel, charnel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for charnel
Historical Examples
  • A curious early fifteenth-century story is associated with this charnel house.

    Paris and its Story Thomas Okey
  • The atmosphere of the place was cold and musty and suggestive of a charnel house.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • Nay, he boasted of his clemency, in "that she had not been strangled, and her body cast into the charnel of malefactors."

  • The city will be a charnel house when these bodies start to decompose.

    The End of Time Wallace West
  • It thrusts the girls into a charnel house of sin, sickness, and death.

    The Making of Mary Jean Forsyth
  • Some of these had been used as charnel houses, and had been filled with dead bodies.

    For the Temple G. A. Henty
  • Another chapel called the charnel, a proper neighbour to this fresco, stood at the back of the two buildings just mentioned.

    The Town Leigh Hunt
  • Does not a ghastly air, a charnel breath, hover about us both?

    Eugene Aram, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She was fruit of the charnel house, a heap of matter and blood, a shovelful of corrupted flesh thrown down on the pillow.

  • It is like a blast from a charnel house; but then, what power, what lucidity!

    Iconoclasts James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for charnel


short for charnel house
ghastly; sepulchral; deathly
Word Origin
C14: from Old French: burial place, from Latin carnālis fleshly, carnal
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 charnel

late 14c., from Old French charnel (12c.) "fleshly," from Late Latin carnale "graveyard," properly neuter of adjective carnalis (see carnal). As an adjective from 1813. The Late Latin word was glossed in Old English as flæschus "flesh-house." Charnel house is attested from 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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