os·​su·​ary | \ˈä-shə-ˌwer-ē, -syə-, -sə-\
plural ossuaries

Definition of ossuary 

: a depository for the bones of the dead

Examples of ossuary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Coins, ceramic fragments, ossuaries and stone slabs bear inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Samaritan, illustrating the kaleidoscopic variety of cultures present in the Holy Land during the first centuries. Fox News, "Franciscan museum in Jerusalem shows life in Jesus' time," 7 July 2018 Many deposit the remains in a nearby ossuary, which houses 80,000 skeletons. The Economist, "Cuba’s funerals: cheap and especially uncheerful," 28 June 2018 The inspiration is an ossuary, the crypts of the cardinals, of the monks in the 15th century, and the precious decorations. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gucci's Cruise 2019 Runway Was On Fire—Literally," 31 May 2018 The inspiration is an ossuary, the crypts of the cardinals, of the monks in the 15th century, and the precious decorations. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "9 References to Death in Gucci’s Cruise Show," 31 May 2018 Or bones can be deposited into the cemetery’s common ossuary. New York Times, "A Chance to Spend 99-Plus Years in Venice (in the Afterlife)," 21 May 2018 The rest are stacked in ossuaries inside vaults that have deteriorated over the decades. James Badcock, latimes.com, "Inside the Valley of the Fallen, a search for two brothers killed in the Spanish Civil War," 10 May 2018 Those remains get moved to an ossuary — a communal residence for bones. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Colma cemeteries rapidly running out of space for plots," 5 May 2018 Work on a permanent ossuary began in 1920, and bones were transferred here from the battlefield from 1927. Smithsonian, "World War I Cemeteries & Memorials Around the World," 26 May 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of ossuary

1658, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ossuary

Late Latin ossuarium, from Latin, neuter of ossuarius of bones, from Old Latin ossua, plural of oss-, os

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ossuary

Statistics for ossuary

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ossuary

The first known use of ossuary was in 1658

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on ossuary

See words that rhyme with ossuary

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ossuary

Comments on ossuary

What made you want to look up ossuary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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