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See more synonyms for Calvary on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural Cal·va·ries for 2, 3.
  1. Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. Luke 23:33.
  2. (often lowercase) a sculptured representation of the Crucifixion, usually erected in the open air.
  3. (lowercase) an experience or occasion of extreme suffering, especially mental suffering.
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Origin of Calvary

< Late Latin Calvāria Calvary < Latin calvāria a skull, used to translate Greek kraníon cranium, itself a translation of the Aramaic name; see Golgotha
Can be confusedCalvary cavalry

Pronunciation note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for calvary

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "The best plan would be to climb to the Calvary," said M. de Guersaint.

  • It was understood that the left wing of the 1st corps was to take care of the Calvary of Illy.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • An impassioned mother, she had been ascending her calvary ever since her son's death.


    Emile Zola

  • What matter if it was hard; if it was difficult; if it was bitter as Marah and steep as Calvary?

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Such was the first step on the Calvary he intended to ascend.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for calvary


noun plural -ries
  1. (often capital) a representation of Christ's crucifixion, usually sculptured and in the open air
  2. any experience involving great suffering
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  1. the place just outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucifiedAlso called: Golgotha
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Word Origin

from Late Latin Calvāria, translation of Greek kranion skull, translation of Aramaic gulgulta Golgotha
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 calvary


name of the mount of the Crucifixion, late 14c., from Latin Calvaria (Greek Kraniou topos), translating Aramaic gulgulta "place of the skull" (see Golgotha). Rendered literally in Old English as Heafodpannan stow. Latin Calvaria is related to calvus "bald" (see Calvin).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

calvary in Culture


The hill near Jerusalem (see also Jerusalem) on which Jesus was crucified. The name is Latin for “Place of the Skull”; it is also called Golgotha. (See Crucifixion.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.