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

Other Words from charnel

charnel adjective

Examples of charnel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What lay on the pillow was a charnel-house, a heap of pus and blood, a shovelful of putrid flesh. Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 In the vicarage garden, the bodies in the charnel mound have gone back to sleep. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2022 Isotope dating studies of the bodies in the vicarage charnel mound found wide disparities. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2022 South Dakota recently held the Sturgis motorcycle rally again with the furious support of Gov. Kristi Noem — despite the fact that the state is trailing in vaccination and last year the rally created a pandemic charnel house. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 27 Aug. 2021 For all the talk of internationalist duty, the Afghanistan that the Soviets left behind was a charnel ground. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2021 Many of those felled in the drug war are expected to meet the same ending as generations of impoverished Filipinos before: stuffed in rice sacks and stored in charnel houses or dumped in piles, mixed with rubble and gravel on the cemetery floor. Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2021 If Dickens’s body of work is a virtual charnel house, Jane Austen is famous for never killing off a single major character. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, 16 Sep. 2020 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, 28 Apr. 2020 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

19 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Charnel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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