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See also: Cenotaph


Lincoln's cenotaph


From French cénotaphe, from Ancient Greek κενός (kenós, empty) + τάφος (táphos, tomb).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɛn.ə.tɑːf/, /ˈsɛn.ə.tæf/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈsɛn.ə.tæf/
  • (file)


cenotaph (plural cenotaphs)

  1. A monument, generally in the form of an empty tomb, erected to honour the dead whose bodies lie elsewhere, especially members of the armed forces who died in battle.
    A cenotaph was erected for him in Gaul, while his body was taken to Rome and inclosed in a magnificent tomb.
    • 1826, [Mary Shelley], chapter I, in The Last Man. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC:
      [] tombs and cenotaphs were strewed thick around adorned by every renewing vegetation; []
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Cloud:
         I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
         And the nursling of the Sky;
         I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
         I change, but I cannot die.
         For after the rain when with never a stain
         The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
         And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
         Build up the blue dome of air,
         I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
         And out of the caverns of rain,
         Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
         I arise and unbuild it again.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “Age and Youth”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 7:
      But age is heart-wearied and tempest-torn: it is the crumbling cenotaph of fear and hope!
    • 1967, Ambrose Bierce, “cenotaph”, in Ernest Jerome Hopkins, editor, The Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary [], Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, →OCLC, page 37:
      A tomb from which the body is absent, living elsewhere. The grave whose headstone bore the famous inscription,
          Here lies me two children dear
          One in ould Ireland, t'other one here.

      was a cenotaph, so far as regarded the "One in ould Ireland".
    • 2021 December 1, “Network News: Passengers observe two-minute silence”, in RAIL, number 945, page 11:
      On Remembrance Sunday (November 14), [...]. A special service was held at Ayr station that afternoon, to allow people to pay their respects after attending the Ayr cenotaph that morning.

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