Definition of cenotaph
: a tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere
Did You Know?
The word cenotaph is derived from the Greek kenos taphos, meaning "empty tomb." A cenotaph is a monument, sometimes in the form of a tomb, to a person or group of persons buried elsewhere. Ancient Greek writings tell of many cenotaphs, although none of them survives. Existing cenotaphs of this type are found in churches (for example, in Santa Croce in Florence, where there are memorials to Dante, Machiavelli, and Galileo). The term is now applied to national war memorials.
Origin and Etymology of cenotaph
French cénotaphe, from Latin cenotaphium, from Greek kenotaphion, from kenos empty + taphos tomb
First Known Use: 1578
CENOTAPH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cenotaph for English Language Learners
: a special structure or statue that is built to remind people of a dead person who is buried somewhere else; especially : a structure built to honor the people who were killed in a war
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