Simple Definition of catacomb
: an underground place where people are buried
Full Definition of catacomb
1 : a subterranean cemetery of galleries with recesses for tombs —usually used in plural
2 : something resembling a catacomb: as a : an underground passageway or group of passageways b : a complex set of interrelated things <the endless catacombs of formal education — Kingman Brewster †1988>
Examples of catacomb in a sentence
<explored the catacombs looking for evidence about burial customs of that ancient society>
Did You Know?
About forty Christian catacombs have been found near the roads that once led into Rome. After the decline of the Roman empire these cemeteries were forgotten, not to be rediscovered until 1578. Catacomb has come to refer to different kinds of underground chambers and passageways. The catacombs of Paris are abandoned stone quarries that were not used for burials until 1787. The catacombs built by a monastery in Palermo, Sicily, for its deceased members later began accepting bodies from outside the monastery; today you may wander through looking at hundreds of mummified corpses propped against the catacomb walls, dressed in tattered clothes that were once fashionable.
Origin and Etymology of catacomb
Middle English catacumb, Middle French catacombe, probably from Old Italian catacomba, from Late Latin catacumbae, plural
First Known Use: 15th century
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