Posted by: Jack Henry | November 17, 2017

Editor’s Corner: More Resting Places

Hello warriors!

The other day I decided to write to you about different names for “final resting places.” At first I thought the topic might be too creepy, but my mailbox showed me otherwise. I have three more terms that several of you mentioned, along with some definitions, pictures, and etymologies.

What a great way to start the weekend!

The following definitions are from the folks at Merriam-Webster. The etymologies are from the Online Etymology Dictionary.

charnel house

· definition: a building, chamber, or other area in which bodies or bones are deposited b : a mortuary chapel

charnel (adjective)

· etymology: "common repository for dead bodies," late 14c., from Old French charnel (12c.) "fleshly," from Late Latin carnale "graveyard," properly neuter of adjective carnalis, from Latin carnis "of the flesh," genitive of caro "flesh, meat," "flesh," originally "a piece of flesh," from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut." As an adjective from 1813. The Late Latin word was glossed in Old English as flæschus "flesh-house." Charnel house is attested from 1550s.


· definition: a structure of vaults lined with recesses for cinerary [KC – Ash, crematory remains.] urns.

· etymology "subterranean sepulchre in ancient Roman places with niches for urns holding remains," neuter of Latin columbarius, "dove-cote" (so called from resemblance), literally "pertaining to doves;" from columba "dove." Literal sense of "dove-cote" is attested in English from 1881.


· definition: a recess in a wall

· etymology 1610s, "shallow recess in a wall," from French niche "recess (for a dog), kennel" (14c.), perhaps from Italian nicchia "niche, nook," from nicchio "seashell," said by Klein and Barnhart to be probably from Latin mitulus "mussel," but the change of -m- to -n- is not explained. Watkins suggests that the word is from an Old French noun derived from nichier "to nestle, nest, build a nest," via Gallo-Roman *nidicare from Latin nidus "nest" (see nidus), but that has difficulties, too. Figurative sense is first recorded 1725. Biological use dates from 1927.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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