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sep·​ul·​chre ˈse-pəl-kər How to pronounce sepulchre (audio)
variants or sepulcher
: a place of burial : tomb
: a receptacle for religious relics especially in an altar


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variants or sepulcher
sepulchred or sepulchered; sepulchring or sepulchering ˈse-pəl-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce sepulchre (audio)

transitive verb

archaic : to place in or as if in a sepulchre : bury
archaic : to serve as a sepulchre for

Did you know?

The history of sepulchre is a grave tale. The earliest evidence in our files traces sepulchre (also spelled sepulcher) back to Middle English around the beginning of the 13th century. It was originally spelled sepulcre, as it was in Anglo-French. Like many words borrowed into English from French, sepulchre has roots buried in Latin; in this case the root is sepelire, a verb meaning “to bury.” Sepultus, the past participle of sepelire, gave us—also by way of Anglo-French—the related noun sepulture, a synonym of burial and sepulchre, but one whose contemporary use is much rarer.

Examples of sepulchre in a Sentence

Noun a poem describing the forgotten sepulcher of a valiant knight of the Middle Ages
Recent Examples on the Web
The Enclave, Buick’s large, three-row crossover, has been redesigned for 2018, allowing the automaker to finally place its predecessor in a sepulchre and seal the entrance. Al Haas,, 28 June 2018 The Garden Tomb, is believed by many to be the garden and sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, and therefore a possible site of the resurrection of Jesus. Joe Yudin, Town & Country, 5 Oct. 2016

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

Word History



Middle English sepulcre, from Anglo-French, from Latin sepulcrum, sepulchrum, from sepelire to bury; akin to Greek hepein to care for, Sanskrit saparyati he honors

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sepulchre was in the 13th century


Dictionary Entries Near sepulchre

Cite this Entry

“Sepulchre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

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