mau·​so·​le·​um ˌmȯ-sə-ˈlē-əm How to pronounce mausoleum (audio) ˌmȯ-zə- How to pronounce mausoleum (audio)
plural mausoleums or mausolea ˌmȯ-sə-ˈlē-ə How to pronounce mausoleum (audio)
: a large tomb
especially : a usually stone building with places for entombment of the dead above ground
: a large gloomy building or room
she invited him out of the mausoleum of a parlour into the kitchenD. H. Lawrence

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Mausolus was ruler of a kingdom in Asia Minor in the 4th century B.C. He beautified the capital, Halicarnassus, with all sorts of fine public buildings, but he is best known for the magnificent monument, the Mausoleum, that was built by his wife Artemisia after his death. With its great height (perhaps 140 feet) and many beautiful sculptures, the Mausoleum was declared one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Though Halicarnassus was repeatedly attacked, the Mausoleum would survive for well over 1,000 years.

Examples of mausoleum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On January 22, the remains were entombed in an above ground mausoleum in the state’s historically Black Eden Cemetery. Justin Gamble, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024 Archaeologists didn’t find any coffins at the site, but the coins, pottery fragments and assorted artifacts present at the mausoleum spoke to its owners’ wealth. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 Franco’s former mausoleum still overlooks the capital. Nicholas Casey, New York Times, 10 June 2023 The rich selection of items suggests the woman was an elite, much like the individuals who would have been buried in a Roman mausoleum in London. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 Just by the fountain, Giuseppe Garibaldi’s fascist nephew had the soldiers’ bones collected into a mausoleum, unveiled in 1941 in the era’s stark neoclassical style, replete with eagles, wolves, and the ominous motto rome or death. Michelle Orange, Harper's Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 Woolf crowned Wollstonecraft as a mother of English feminism and banished Cavendish to the mausoleum of unread books. Ruth Scurr, WSJ, 29 Dec. 2023 The exterior shots of the Ferrari residence that were used are of his actual home; the mausoleum depicted is the real family mausoleum as is the barbershop. Scott Huver, Variety, 20 Dec. 2023 Regardless of the cause of death, the mausoleum is now a dignified place for them and an act of reparation. Chantal Flores, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mausoleum.' 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, from Greek mausōleion, from Mausōlos Mausolus †about 353 b.c., ruler of Caria

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near mausoleum

Cite this Entry

“Mausoleum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


mau·​so·​le·​um ˌmȯ-sə-ˈlē-əm How to pronounce mausoleum (audio) ˌmȯ-zə- How to pronounce mausoleum (audio)
plural mausoleums or mausolea
: a large or fancy tomb

from Latin mausoleum "a large tomb," from Greek Mausōleion "the magnificent tomb of Mausolus (ruler of Caria, an ancient country in Asia Minor)," considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world

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