: 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

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.

Examples of crypt in a Sentence

the old church's crypt is the final resting place for the president and his beloved wife
Recent Examples on the Web There are 12 primates buried at the cathedral, but the hidden crypts belong to three, archaeologists said. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 31 May 2024 The newfound artifacts suggest that some of the cathedral’s treasures were actually hidden in the crypt in the Middle Ages and have been sitting there ever since, archaeologists said. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 23 May 2024 The silk fabric has only been found in crypts of churches, and a piece of gold cloth that was discovered at the site was one of the most expensive fabrics to be imported to Poland from Turkey or Persia at the time. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 6 May 2024 Today, hotel guests can tour the same crypt and a hall named after the Nobel prize winner, carved with quotes from his books, in the company of one of the hotel butlers. Eleni N. Gage, Travel + Leisure, 4 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for crypt 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crypt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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.

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 16 Jun. 2024.

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

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