- (historical) A large, sometimes architecturally impressive building for housing a large colony of pigeons or doves, particularly those of ancien regime France; a dovecote.
1885, Philip Smith, History of the World from the Creation to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, volume 2:
- Their sides present the well-known appearance of the Roman columbaria (dove-cotes), but with the important difference, that they are adapted to contain coffins instead of urns, the holes being about 2 feet square and 6 feet deep.
1979, Leonard Swidler, Biblical Affirmations of Woman, page 61:
- Doves were culticly protected; great towers were built for them in which they could nest; they were called columbaria (columba is the Latin word for dove).
2008, Stanley Graham, Barnoldswich, page 34:
- Fish ponds were stocked with netted fish during the summer as a source of protein and dove cotes, or as the Romans called them, 'columbariums', were another.
- A pigeonhole in such a dovecote.
- (especially Hong Kong) A building, a vault or a similar place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns containing cremated remains
1873, an unknown translator, On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense, translation of original by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, part 2:
- We have seen how it is originally language which works on the construction of concepts, a labor taken over in later ages by science. Just as the bee simultaneously constructs cells and fills them with honey, so science works unceasingly on this great columbarium of concepts, the graveyard of perceptions.
- A niche in such a building for housing urns.
a building for housing a large colony of pigeons or doves
a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns
- (architecture) a hole for a horizontal member such as a joist or rafter; a gain or mortise
- a hole in the side of a waterwheel near its axle, where the water lifted by the wheel exits
- (nautical) an opening for oars in the side of a vessel
- (burial) an underground chamber for interring cremated remains, with niches for the urns of ashes
- du Cange, Charles (1883), “columbarium”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
- columbarium in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
- columbarium in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin