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  1. a subterranean chamber or vault, especially one beneath the main floor of a church, used as a burial place, a location for secret meetings, etc.
  2. Anatomy. a slender pit or recess; a small glandular cavity.

Origin of crypt

1375–1425 for sense “grotto”; 1555–65 for current senses; late Middle English cripte < Latin crypta < Greek kryptḗ hidden place, noun use of feminine of kryptós hidden, verbid of krýptein to hide; replacing earlier crypta < Latin, as above
Related formsun·der·crypt, noun


  1. variant of crypto- before a vowel.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for crypt

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • When the round was ended and we were leaving the Crypt she saw me put a hand in my pocket.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • The crypt is somewhat lower than this chamber, two steps or so?

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • The ceiling of the crypt is blackened by the smoke of lamps.

  • It looks more like the room of a Pompeian house than a Christian crypt.

    Pagan and Christian Rome

    Rodolfo Lanciani

  • A remarkable monument was discovered in the crypt four years ago.

    Pagan and Christian Rome

    Rodolfo Lanciani

British Dictionary definitions for crypt


  1. a cellar, vault, or underground chamber, esp beneath a church, where it is often used as a chapel, burial place, etc
  2. anatomy any pitlike recess or depression
Derived Formscryptal, adjective

Word Origin

C18: from Latin crypta, from Greek kruptē vault, secret place, from kruptos hidden, from kruptein to hide
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

Word Origin and History for crypt


early 15c., "grotto, cavern," from Latin crypta "vault, cavern," from Greek krypte (short for krypte kamara "hidden vault"), fem. of kryptos "hidden," verbal adjective from kryptein "to hide," from PIE *krau- "to conceal, hide" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kryjo, kryti "to hide"). Meaning "underground burial vault or chapel in a church" first attested 1789.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

crypt in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. A small pit, recess, or glandular cavity in the body.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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