dolmen

[ dohl-men, -muh n, dol- ]
/ ˈdoʊl mɛn, -mən, ˈdɒl- /
|

noun Archaeology.

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.
Compare chamber tomb.

Origin of dolmen

1855–60; < French < Cornish, lenited form of tolmen hole of stone (taken by French archeologists to mean cromlech)
Also called portal tomb.
Related formsdol·men·ic [dohl-men-ik, dol-] /doʊlˈmɛn ɪk, dɒl-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dolmen

British Dictionary definitions for dolmen

dolmen

/ (ˈdɒlmɛn) /

noun

(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 for dolmen

C19: from French, probably from Old Breton tol table, from Latin tabula board + Breton mēn stone, of Celtic origin; see table
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 dolmen

dolmen


n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper