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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for charnel
Historical Examples
  • It was a charnel yard on the hill-side, near to one of the town's six gates.

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

    The End of Time Wallace West
  • The atmosphere of the place was cold and musty and suggestive of a charnel house.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • Thy life has left thee, to live in the heart of a daughter of the charnel and the worm.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • Yet that fragrant balm cannot stifle the smell of the charnel house.

    The Day of Wrath Maurus Jkai
  • Some of these had been used as charnel houses, and had been filled with dead bodies.

    For the Temple G. A. Henty
  • Not in vain from the charnel have come to me the records I produce.

    My Novel, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The love is disenhallowed; while the hand was on the rose, the thought was on the charnel.

    Lucretia, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Does not a ghastly air, a charnel breath, hover about us both?

    Eugene Aram, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • It is like a blast from a charnel house; but then, what power, what lucidity!


    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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