tu·​mu·​lus ˈtü-myə-ləs How to pronounce tumulus (audio)
plural tumuli ˈtü-myə-ˌlī How to pronounce tumulus (audio)
: an artificial hillock or mound (as over a grave)
especially : an ancient grave : barrow

Examples of tumulus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nearby, the researchers found a 197- by 26-foot tumulus, or burial mound, and an extravagant array of Greek funerary goods likely left by merchants and mercenaries living in the area. Isis Davis-Marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Aug. 2021 Another surprising discovery is a giant tumulus near the town of Amphipolis in northern Greece. National Geographic, 8 Apr. 2019 The pressure may have pushed that tumulus to sea level. Megan Friedman, Popular Mechanics, 16 July 2018 The running theory is that the island was a submarine tumulus created when the pressure of slow-moving lava lifts the crust above it. Megan Friedman, Popular Mechanics, 16 July 2018 Resembling an ancient burial mound known as a tumulus, Maropeng's entrance blends artfully with the grassland surroundings. Smithsonian, 27 Mar. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tumulus.' 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, from Latin; akin to Latin tumēre to swell — more at thumb entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tumulus was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near tumulus

Cite this Entry

“Tumulus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumulus. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural tumuli -ˌlī How to pronounce tumulus (audio)
: a mound usually over an ancient grave

More from Merriam-Webster on tumulus

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