necropolis

noun
ne·​crop·​o·​lis | \ nə-ˈkrä-pə-ləs How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , ne- \
plural necropolises or necropoles\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlēz How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , ne-​ \ or necropoleis\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlās How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , ne-​ \ or necropoli\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlī How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , -​ˌlē , ne-​ \

Definition of necropolis

: cemetery especially : a large elaborate cemetery of an ancient city

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Did You Know?

With its -polis ending, meaning "city", a necropolis is a "city of the dead". Most of the famous necropolises of Egypt line the Nile River across from their cities. In ancient Greece and Rome, a necropolis would often line the road leading out of a city; in the 1940s a great Roman necropolis was discovered under the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica. Some more recent cemeteries especially deserve the name necropolis because they resemble cities of aboveground tombs, a necessity in low-lying areas such as New Orleans where a high water table prevents underground burial.

Examples of necropolis in a Sentence

Archaeologists uncovered a necropolis of ancient Rome. an ancient necropolis that has given archaeologists valuable insights into how people once lived and died
Recent Examples on the Web On a cool morning last November, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister stood in a packed tent at the vast necropolis of Saqqara just outside Cairo to reveal the ancient site’s largest archaeological discovery of the year. BostonGlobe.com, "Egyptology is having a big moment. But will tourists come?," 24 Apr. 2021 On a cool morning last November, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister stood in a packed tent at the vast necropolis of Saqqara just outside Cairo to reveal the ancient site’s largest archaeological discovery of the year. New York Times, "Egyptology Is Having a Big Moment. But Will Tourists Come?," 24 Apr. 2021 The Saqqara necropolis is at once a center of the country’s aspirations and of its subterranean secrets. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "In the tombs of Saqqara, new discoveries are rewriting ancient Egypt’s history," 22 Apr. 2021 North of the small city of Baza in southern Spain lies a pre-Roman necropolis known as Cerro del Santuario. National Geographic, "This 2,400-year-old statue reveals insights into ancient Spain," 24 Nov. 2020 The Saqqara plateau is part of the necropolis of Egypt's ancient city of Memphis. NBC News, "Ancient mummies and antiquities unveiled in Egypt, over 2,500 years after their burial," 14 Nov. 2020 This included the razing of the vast medieval necropolis at Djulfa, near the Iranian border, which once contained thousands of 16th century Armenian headstones. Los Angeles Times, "Armenian monuments are at risk in Azerbaijan. L.A. artists make their own to keep memory alive," 16 Dec. 2020 The Saqqara plateau is part of the necropolis of Egypt's ancient city of Memphis. NBC News, "Ancient mummies and antiquities unveiled in Egypt, over 2,500 years after their burial," 14 Nov. 2020 The Saqqara plateau is part of the necropolis of Egypt's ancient city of Memphis. NBC News, "Ancient mummies and antiquities unveiled in Egypt, over 2,500 years after their burial," 14 Nov. 2020

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

1819, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for necropolis

borrowed from Late Latin, "cemetery," borrowed from Greek Nekrópolis, literally, "city of the dead," name of a large cemetery in a suburb of ancient Alexandria, from nekro- necro- + -polis -polis

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Time Traveler for necropolis

Time Traveler

The first known use of necropolis was in 1819

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Statistics for necropolis

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Necropolis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/necropolis. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for necropolis

necropolis

noun

English Language Learners Definition of necropolis

formal : a large cemetery especially of an ancient city

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