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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English sepulcre and Old French sepulcre, from Latin sepulcrum (grave, burial place).



sepulchre (plural sepulchres)

  1. A burial chamber.
    • 1590, Christopher Marlowe, Tamerlane the Great, Part I, sc. 3:
      By Mahomet my kinsman's sepulchre,
      And by the holy Alcoran I swear []
    • 1611, King James Version, Matthew 23:27:
      Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, The Last Man, volume 3, chapter 8:
      Nor was it the human form alone which we had placed in this eternal sepulchre, whose obseques we now celebrated.
    • 1849, Edgar Allen Poe, "Annabel Lee":
      And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
      Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
      In her sepulchre there by the sea—
      In her tomb by the sounding sea.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 69:
      The vast tackles have now done their duty. The peeled white body of the beheaded whale flashes like a marble sepulchre; though changed in hue, it has not perceptibly lost anything in bulk.
    • 1891, Thomas Taylor, The Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, Section 1:
      Plato, too, it is well known, considered the body as the sepulchre of the soul, and in the Cratylus concurs with the doctrine of Orpheus, that the soul is punished through its union with body.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Part II, Chapter 14:
      The aged sisters draw us into life: we wail, batten, sport, clip, clasp, sunder, dwindle, die: over us dead they bend. First, saved from waters of old Nile, among bulrushes, a bed of fasciated wattles: at last the cavity of a mountain, an occulted sepulchre amid the conclamation of the hillcat and the ossifrage.


Related terms[edit]



sepulchre (third-person singular simple present sepulchres, present participle sepulchring, simple past and past participle sepulchred)

  1. (transitive) To place in a sepulchre.
    • Milton
      And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie / That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.