- a structure usually regarded as a tomb, consisting of two or more large, upright stones set with a space between and capped by a horizontal stone.
Origin of dolmen
Examples from the Web for dolmen
The church is laid out like a dolmen, and the towers are the menhirs.Rodin: The Man and his Art
There is a rude circle of menhirs at the site, with a trilithon or dolmen on one side.
And on each of these mountains we found groups of dolmen still standing.
From words that escaped him while he was sleeping under the Fairies' Dolmen.
For this he needs an outlet issuing near the Fairies' Dolmen.
- (in British archaeology) a Neolithic stone formation, consisting of a horizontal stone supported by several vertical stones, and thought to be a tomb
- (in French archaeology) any megalithic tomb
Word Origin and History for dolmen
1859, from French dolmin applied 1796 by French general and antiquarian Théophile Malo Corret de La Tour d'Auvergne (1743-1800), perhaps from Cornish tolmen "enormous stone slab set up on supporting points," such that a man may walk under it, literally "hole of stone," from Celtic men "stone."
Some suggest the first element may be Breton taol "table," a loan-word from Latin tabula "board, plank," but the Breton form of this compound would be taolvean. "There is reason to think that this [tolmen] is the word inexactly reproduced by Latour d'Auvergne as dolmin, and misapplied by him and succeeding French archaeologists to the cromlech" [OED]. See cromlech, which is properly an upright flat stone, often arranged as one of a circle.