char·​nel | \ˈchär-nᵊl \

Definition of charnel 

: a building or chamber in which bodies or bones are deposited

called also charnel house

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Other Words from charnel

charnel adjective

Examples of charnel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s a reason Buddhist monks meditate on charnel grounds, and why Cicero said the contemplation of death was the beginning of philosophy. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "What the Living Can Learn by Looking Death Straight in the Eye," 26 June 2018 Down the row, past the typical stacks of bones and skulls found in charnel houses, the body of a woman was so well preserved that her nose still protruded outward from her face, some three hundred years after her death. Caitlin Doughty, Time, "There Are Better Ways to Mourn," 4 Oct. 2017 Similar charnel houses were created in Catholic cemeteries all across Europe. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "This Austrian Ossuary Holds Hundreds of Elaborately Hand-Painted Skulls," 15 Sep. 2017 Grenfell Tower was a torch in the dark night, a charnel house that would claim at least 80 lives in London’s deadliest fire since the Nazi bombing in World War II. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Grenfell fire casts harsh light on London's dwindling low-income housing," 18 Aug. 2017 An honorable soldier, Lee is an apt symbol for the Confederate rank and file whose sacrifices in the war’s charnel house shouldn’t be flushed down the memory hole. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Mothball the Confederate Monuments," 15 Aug. 2017 Museum collections may look like a creepy charnel house to outsiders, full of corpses, pins, and mothballs. Gwen Pearson, WIRED, "Bee Tongues and Flowers Reveal Evolution in Overdrive," 24 Sep. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'charnel.' 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 charnel

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for charnel

Middle English, from Anglo-French carnel, charnel, probably alteration of charner, from Medieval Latin carnarium, from Latin carn-, caro flesh — more at carnal

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Time Traveler for charnel

The first known use of charnel was in the 14th century

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with charnel

Comments on charnel

What made you want to look up charnel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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