char·​nel | \ ˈchär-nᵊl How to pronounce charnel (audio) \

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 Nixon and Kissinger expanded the war in Southeast Asia, leaving Laos a cratered wreck, Cambodia a charnel house, Americans at each other’s throats and Vietnam with an armistice that yielded neither peace nor honor. John A. Farrell, New York Times, "How Do You Explain Henry Kissinger?," 28 Apr. 2020 Connecting the Alps and the Adriatic, this hiking trail showcases the heritage of the Isonzo Front, including fortifications, military cemeteries and charnel houses, alongside the region’s stunning natural scenery. Washington Post, "Once war-torn, Slovenia has become a green retreat," 27 Nov. 2019 Though cremation has since solved the burial space issue, Hallstatt townspeople can choose to send their remains to the charnel house. Danielle Page, National Geographic, "Why is this Bronze Age town so popular today?," 4 Nov. 2019 Blood and wreckage was distributed over the entire ship, the after cabin and the vicinity of the ship adjacent to the exploded boiler resembling a charnel house. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: In 1905 the gunboat Bennington exploded in San Diego harbor," 21 July 2019 On March 14, 1891, the city of New Orleans became a charnel house as a mob of as many as 20,000 wantonly slaughtered 11 Italian-Americans. Rosario A. Iaconis, WSJ, "An Overdue Apology to Italian-Americans," 8 Apr. 2019 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

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Charnel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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