cat·​a·​falque | \ˈka-tə-ˌfȯ(l)k, -ˌfalk\

Definition of catafalque 

1 : an ornamental structure sometimes used in funerals for the lying in state of the body

2 : a pall-covered coffin-shaped structure used at requiem masses celebrated after burial

Examples of catafalque in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Detail of 22 sergeants deposit Lincoln coffin into Indiana Statehouse on catafalque awaiting mourners. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "The epic journey of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train," 30 Apr. 2018 The catafalque is constructed out of wood and draped in a black cloth. Carol Robinson,, "Man, 24, killed when vehicle hits brick pillar in Birmingham," 28 Feb. 2018 Graham's coffin rests on a catafalque, a wooden stand, which was constructed by the architect of the Capitol for such ceremonies. Michael D. Shear, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump and Congress pay tribute to the Rev. Billy Graham at the Capitol," 28 Feb. 2018 One of the items pulled was Lincoln’s catafalque — the decorated wooden framework meant to support the coffin of a distinguished person — which was ultimately used to hold Kennedy’s casket while on display in the East Room of the White House. Liz Mcneil,, "Rare John F. Kennedy and Jackie Items for Sale in New Auction — Including the Former President's Cigars," 31 Aug. 2017 The coffin was placed on a catafalque, a decorated wooden frame, which was built to hold President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin in 1865. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "How America mourned John F. Kennedy: Images of grief for a fallen president," 26 Oct. 2017 To get the two crossed military swords that traditionally adorn the catafalque, the White House borrowed one from Officer Jack Cutcomb and the other from Lt. Liz Mcneil,, "Rare John F. Kennedy and Jackie Items for Sale in New Auction — Including the Former President's Cigars," 31 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catafalque.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of catafalque

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catafalque

Italian catafalco, from Vulgar Latin *catafalicum scaffold, from cata- + Latin fala siege tower

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The first known use of catafalque was in 1641

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