- a stone coffin, especially one bearing sculpture, inscriptions, etc., often displayed as a monument.
- Greek Antiquity. a kind of stone thought to consume the flesh of corpses, used for coffins.
Origin of sarcophagus
Examples from the Web for sarcophagus
Prices start at around $1,000 for Greek-Roman coins (250 A.D.) and top $25,000 for ornate Sarcophagus lids.Egyptian Tomb-Robbing Market Explodes on eBay
May 31, 2014
But he has not launched a huge, historic initiative on which history has slammed the sarcophagus lid screaming “Failure!”The Obama Political Obituaries Are Way Premature
December 19, 2013
Recent budget cuts are just the last nail in the sarcophagus.Italy’s Culture Falling to Ruins Amid Austerity Cuts
Barbie Latza Nadeau
September 19, 2012
Above the silk was an ivory mask, the spoil of a sarcophagus, which he had found in Seville.The Paliser case
They knelt down, each in turn, before the sarcophagus, and put their lips to it.Thais
The vases contained the viscer of the mummy enclosed in the sarcophagus.
We are in the antechamber of the hall where the sarcophagus is bound to be!
The cover was off, but the painted coffin of the Pharaoh lay in the depths of the sarcophagus.Cleopatra
H. Rider Haggard
- a stone or marble coffin or tomb, esp one bearing sculpture or inscriptions
Word Origin and History for sarcophagus
c.1600, "type of stone used for coffins," from Latin sarcophagus, from Greek sarkophagos "limestone used for coffins," literally "flesh-eating," in reference to the supposed action of this type of limestone (quarried near Assos in Troas, hence the Latin lapis Assius) in quickly decomposing the body, from sarx (genitive sarkos) "flesh" (see sarcasm) + phagein "to eat" (see -phagous). Related: Sarcophagal.
The "stone" sense was the earliest in English; meaning "stone coffin, often with inscriptions or decorative carvings" is recorded from 1705. The Latin word, shortened in Vulgar Latin to *sarcus, is the source of French cercueil, German Sarg "coffin," Dutch zerk "tombstone."