Definition of charnel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈCHärnl/


short for charnel house.
Example sentences
  • Most knights' bones never got into charnels; they were safely enclosed in tombs inside a church.
  • The charnel was pulled down after the Reformation.
  • Undoubtedly the charnel features had many other meanings to the people who used them, ones that leave no archaeologically identifiable traces.


Associated with death: I gagged on the charnel stench of the place
More example sentences
  • A charnel stench filled the air and made them recoil in disgust.
  • It is argued, based on archaeological and ethnohistoric data, that the layout of the mound, burials, and charnel features is patterned after Native American notions of the cosmos.
  • The symbolic suitability of dark and dismal weather, however, is not the main reason Mary Shelley selected this particular month for the nativity of Victor's charnel creature.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from medieval Latin carnale, neuter (used as a noun) of carnalis 'relating to flesh' (see carnal).

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