cat·​a·​falque ˈka-tə-ˌfȯ(l)k How to pronounce catafalque (audio)
: an ornamental structure sometimes used in funerals for the lying in state of the body
: a pall-covered coffin-shaped structure used at requiem masses celebrated after burial

Examples of catafalque in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Harrison the Harlem Knight on catafalque; Mission from the South Bronx; Big Boy from the Rox; Vark of the Queens Zulus; me from B’More. Lawrence Jackson, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 New Order emerged from the catafalque of Manchester’s great, gloomy punk band Joy Division (its name teased Nazi dehumanization inspired by the hipster decadence of America’s the Velvet Underground). Armond White, National Review, 14 June 2023 The queen’s coffin was lifted from its platform, known as a catafalque, shortly after 10:35 a.m. (5:35 a.m. ET) by members of the British Army’s Grenadier Guards, soldiers whose iconic tall, black busby hats have appeared in a million tourist photographs outside Buckingham Palace. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 19 Sep. 2022 The justice will also lie in state in the United States Capitol, the first woman in American history to be so honored, and her coffin will be placed on the same catafalque that bore the body of President Abraham Lincoln, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, 21 Sep. 2020 Many held their phones aloft while approaching the catafalque. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 2 Jan. 2023 The video shows eight men in military fatigues, all clutching a candle surrounding a coffin draped in a Wagner black and red catafalque with a photo of Nyirenda and two medals on top. Sebastian Shukla, CNN, 12 Dec. 2022 It will then be carried to the catafalque by the Bearer Party, where the late monarch will lie in state. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 14 Sep. 2022 And finally, four metropolitan police officers were standing to attention by the four large candles at each corner of the catafalque. Juliet Butler, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'catafalque.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of catafalque was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near catafalque

Cite this Entry

“Catafalque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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