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[sep-uh l-ker] /ˈsɛp əl kər/
noun, verb (used with object), sepulchred, sepulchring. Chiefly British.


[sep-uh l-ker] /ˈsɛp əl kər/
a tomb, grave, or burial place.
Also called Easter sepulcher. Ecclesiastical.
  1. a cavity in a mensa for containing relics of martyrs.
  2. a structure or a recess in some old churches in which the Eucharist was deposited with due ceremonies on Good Friday and taken out at Easter in commemoration of Christ's entombment and Resurrection.
verb (used with object)
to place in a sepulcher; bury.
Also, especially British, sepulchre.
Origin of sepulcher
1150-1200; Middle English sepulcre < Old French < Latin sepulcrum, equivalent to sepul- (variant stem of sepelīre to bury) + -crum noun suffix of place
Related forms
unsepulcher, verb (used with object)
1. vault, mausoleum, crypt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sepulchre
Historical Examples
  • Immediately on entering there is a coolness and a resonance as of a sepulchre.

  • Will you descend with me, madam, into the sepulchre of your ancestry?

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • The large place of worship, called sepulchre, and containing the sepulchre of that man, is visited by all pilgrims.

  • A family or a burial association needed a place of sepulchre.

  • It might almost be said that all the West knew of the arts was learned on the road to the sepulchre.

  • What a place to bury a king who had built a great pyramid for his sepulchre!

  • Was this marvellous hiding-place that he had discovered to be his sepulchre?

  • He was buried with a sepulchre transcending in solemnity the lot of ordinary mortality.

    Hellenica Xenophon
  • Before you go, please take a last look at me in my sepulchre.

    From the Housetops George Barr McCutcheon
  • While Peter and John were within the sepulchre, she had stood without, weeping.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
British Dictionary definitions for sepulchre


a burial vault, tomb, or grave
Also called Easter sepulchre. a separate alcove in some medieval churches in which the Eucharistic elements were kept from Good Friday until the Easter ceremonies
(transitive) to bury in a sepulchre
Word Origin
C12: from Old French sépulcre, from Latin sepulcrum, from sepelīre to bury
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 sepulchre

also sepulcher, c.1200, "tomb, burial place," especially the cave where Jesus was buried outside Jerusalem (Holy Sepulcher or Saint Sepulcher), from Old French sepulcre "tomb; the Holy Sepulchre" (11c.), from Latin sepulcrum "grave, tomb, place where a corpse is buried," from root of sepelire "to bury, embalm," originally "to perform rituals on a corpse," from PIE *sep-el-yo-, suffixed form of root *sep- "to handle (skillfully), to hold (reverently);" cf. Sanskrit saparyati "honors." No reason for the -ch- spelling, which dates to 13c. Whited sepulchre "hypocrite" is from Matt. xxiii.27.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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