cenotaph

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English[edit]

Lincoln's cenotaph
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Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɛn.əʊ.tæf/, /ˈsɛn.əʊ.tɑːf/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsɛn.ə.tæf/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

cenotaph (plural cenotaphs)

  1. A monument, ideally 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, The Last Man, part 2, chapter 1
      [] tombs and cenotaphs were strewed thick around adorned by every renewing vegetation; []
    • 1967, Ambrose Bierce (ed E. J. Hopkins) The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary
      Cenotaph, n. 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".
    • 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.

Translations[edit]