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 necropoles (audio) , ne-​ \ or necropoleis\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlās How to pronounce necropoleis (audio) , ne-​ \ or necropoli\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlī How to pronounce necropoli (audio) , -​ˌlē , ne-​ \

Definition of necropolis

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

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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

Today, Etruscan necropolises are UNESCO World Heritage sites and in the summer months, when tourists flock to Tuscany and the surrounding regions, many visitors will be awed by the vibrant frescoes as Lawrence once was. E.o’k. | Lazio, The Economist, "The enduring influence of the Etruscans on Italian culture," 20 Aug. 2019 At the necropolis of Dahshūr, an ancient Egyptian burial site on the west bank of the Nile, stands an odd-looking pyramid dating back some 4,600 years. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Egypt Opens Its ‘Bent Pyramid’ For the First Time in More Than 50 Years," 17 July 2019 Round off your time in Luxor with a visit to the Colossi of Memnon—two 60-foot-tall stone statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, which have guarded the king’s necropolis since 1350 BC. National Geographic, "Egypt Private Expedition," 12 June 2019 Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany also told reporters on Saturday that Egyptian archeologists have uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies, in the Dahshur royal necropolis. Washington Post, "Egypt opens 2 ancient pyramids for first time since 1960s," 14 July 2019 Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told reporters that tourists were are now allowed to visit the Bent Pyramid and its satellite pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis, which is part of the Memphis Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site., "News of the Day From Around the World, July 14," 13 July 2019 Riders will most likely pass the city’s red-brick cathedral, a Unesco World Heritage site and royal necropolis, and then sprint across the 11-mile (18-kilometer) Great Belt Bridge over the Baltic Sea to reach the finish-line in Nyborg. New York Times, "The Tour de France to Start in Denmark in 2021," 13 June 2019 The show took place in a Roman necropolis in southern France, accompanied by smoke and candles and a dramatic 17th century musical composition sung in Latin. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Modern Woman Is Embracing Her Inner Witch," 12 Nov. 2018 Memphis was the first capital of ancient Egypt and its large necropolis houses a wide range of temples and tombs as well as the three pyramids of Giza. Fox News, "Archaeologists in Egypt discover ancient mummification workshop," 2 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for necropolis

Last Updated

31 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for necropolis

The first known use of necropolis was in 1819

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English Language Learners Definition of necropolis

formal : a large cemetery especially of an ancient city

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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