1 of 2


: a chamber (such as a vault) wholly or partly underground
especially : a vault under the main floor of a church
: a chamber in a mausoleum
: an anatomical pit or depression
: a simple tubular gland


2 of 2

combining form

variants or crypto-
: hidden : covered
: cryptographic

Did you know?

Hidden under the main floor of a great church is often a large room, often with a tomb as its centerpiece. Many major European churches were built over the remains of a saint—the Vatican's great St. Peter's Basilica is an example—and instead of having the coffin buried, it was often given its spacious room below ground level. In a large aboveground tomb, or mausoleum, there may be several small chambers for individual coffins, also called crypts; when the comic book Tales from the Crypt made its first appearance in 1950, it was this meaning that the authors were referring to.

Example Sentences

Noun the old church's crypt is the final resting place for the president and his beloved wife
Recent Examples on the Web
In keeping with Benedict's wishes, his remains will be placed in the crypt once occupied by the tomb of St. John Paul II in the grottoes underneath the basilica. Arkansas Online, 5 Jan. 2023 After the Mass, Benedict’s cypress coffin was placed inside a zinc one, then an outer oak casket before being entombed in the crypt in the grottoes underneath St. Peter’s Basilica that once held the John Paul’s tomb before it was moved upstairs. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Jan. 2023 The coffins are to be sealed before Thursday’s funeral and burial in the crypt once occupied by the tomb of St. John Paul II in the grottos underneath the basilica. Nicole Winfield,, 4 Jan. 2023 In keeping with Benedict’s wishes, his remains will be placed in the crypt once occupied by the tomb of St. John Paul II in the grottos underneath the basilica. Nicole Winfield, Chicago Tribune, 4 Jan. 2023 Soon after the discovery, the remains were buried yet again in the crypt. Marc Santora, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2022 Dominik and his Monroe actress visited the star's famed Westwood Memorial Park crypt in Los Angeles, pleading with the guard to let them in while a private service took place nearby. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 28 Sep. 2022 Visit the crypt that sits atop a reflection pool where both Martin and Coretta have been laid to rest to pay your respects. Nneka M. Okona, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Jan. 2022 At a hotel pool in Florida, an on-message O’Day introduced his clones to a writer from the Miami News and regaled the reporter with tales from his rock & roll crypt. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 2 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crypt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



borrowed from Latin crypta, crupta "covered passage, underground room," borrowed from Greek kryptḗ "underground room," noun derivative from feminine of kryptós "hidden, secret," verbal adjective of krýptein "to hide, conceal," of uncertain origin

Note: The verb krýptein is phonetically and semantically close to kalýptein "to cover, conceal," and the two may have influenced each other. Other forms with which krýptein has been compared, such as Old Church Slavic kryjǫ, kryti "to cover, hide, shroud," Lithuanian kráuju, kráuti "to pile up," are too distant phonetically to allow realistic reconstruction of an Indo-European verbal base. The alternation in consonants between kryp- (in krýptein, kryptós), kryb- (in krýbdēn "secretly"), and kryph- (in kryphêi "in secret," -kryphos "hidden") is apparently the result of both assimilation and analogy.

Combining form

combining form from Greek kryptós "hidden, secret" — more at crypt

First Known Use


1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of crypt was in 1583

Dictionary Entries Near crypt

Cite this Entry

“Crypt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an underground chamber
also : a chamber for burial

Medical Definition


: an anatomical pit, depression, or invagination
a developing tooth in its bony crypt
see tonsillar crypt
: a simple tubular gland (as a crypt of Lieberkühn)

More from Merriam-Webster on crypt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Which Came First?

  • baby chick with a brown egg
  • hot take or cold shoulder?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?