Meaning of urn in English:


Pronunciation /əːn/

Translate urn into Spanish


  • 1A tall, rounded vase with a stem and base, especially one used for storing the ashes of a cremated person.

    ‘Richly glazed and often spectacularly potted, the sources for these works include Anglo-Saxon cremation urns, Peruvian vases and, on at least one occasion, a Fijian carving.’
    • ‘One of them is yellowed and it has my father in his youth standing beside his parents, who are dead now and stored in urns just as yellow as the picture.’
    • ‘But the number of wooden urns stored in a tiny room continued to pile up.’
    • ‘Heather described how the cremation took place nine days after his death earlier this year in Reddish and said the undertakers were instructed to collect the urn and store it.’
    • ‘The ugly thing looked more like an urn than a vase and was adorned with small flowers and butterflies painted on the surface with real gold and silver.’
    • ‘At the time all these sugar baskets would have been described as urn-shaped, since ancient Greek vases and urns were the ultimate inspiration at the time.’
    • ‘Several vases and urns stood on podiums of varying sizes.’
    • ‘Many of these cremation urns were highly decorated.’
    • ‘Alternatively, baskets or urns of cut flowers can do the job.’
    • ‘But she said the various parties had now come to an agreement that the body should be cremated and the ashes placed in the three separate urns.’
    • ‘And animal lovers who prefer to cremate their pets can buy a special urn to put on their living room mantelpiece.’
    • ‘She said one of the urns was in perfect condition, with the cremated remains undisturbed from the time they were buried 1,800 years ago.’
    • ‘A ballot comes to us from the Italian word balotta for a little ball, since such balls were used for secret voting by placing them in the appropriate urn or box.’
    • ‘They cremated their dead and placed urns of their ashes in flat graves in cemeteries.’
    • ‘Dinner tables set for groups of 10 were covered in bold rose-colored cloths that matched the hydrangeas that filled urns and planters around the tent.’
    • ‘Recently one family here received two urns at once.’
    • ‘The graves were of different sizes and some were covered with flagstones, some of the urns were sent to Dublin for further examination.’
    • ‘She said that many graves had been adorned with urns, stones, shrubs and plants, but unfortunately many had become extremely untidy.’
    • ‘Ayako walked over to the new tombstone and placed the urn into the small stone ditch right in front of it.’
    • ‘There was no inscription on the urn, or on the bodylength slab of stone on the ground.’
    1. 1.1An ornamental sculpture shaped like an urn.
      ‘a weathered stone urn’
      • ‘Massive tombs with painted and sculpted decoration, ash urns, and sarcophagi became a form of social competition.’
      • ‘Finlay's contribution is to be a series of sculptures of cherry-filled urns (the prototype was on display) adorning a gridded garden by Pia Maria Simig.’
      • ‘Nearby the Urn Tomb - so-called because a sculpted urn surmounts it - was later converted to a Byzantine church and shows Christian decoration.’
      • ‘Four stone pillars with bronze urns on top were inaugurated on Constitution Hill, near Hyde Park Corner.’
      • ‘Prunings from mature hollies make their way into classically shaped urns, while evergreen garlands drape windows and doors.’
      • ‘There are also garden lamps, bird baths, decorative columns, mushroom lamps, and ornamental urns that a landscape artist would cherish.’
      • ‘Designs were often derived from classical sculpture and urns.’
      • ‘Her island grave is hidden by foliage, but from the mainland visitors can see a stone urn, topped by a carved flame reminiscent of the flame at Paris.’
      • ‘We went out to take some photographs in a marble courtyard replete with shrubbery and elephantine urns where uninterested figures dined al fresco.’
      • ‘Brick alcoves in the walls are set off with ornamental urns with pot plants.’
      • ‘Two lead urns and a statue of an eagle were also stolen in the raid which has shocked staff at the exclusive hotel.’
      • ‘I have a small woodland garden in the middle of which is a large stone urn on a pedestal.’
      • ‘But they also used them as beautiful objects in and of themselves - a classic olive oil jar at the end of an allée, a row of bulbous pots atop a balustrade, or a stone urn atop a pedestal, for instance.’
      • ‘The main living area incorporates the stone walls of the old greenhouse, and spectacular urns sit on its roof.’
      • ‘There he created the landscaped garden with temples, statues, grottoes, glades and a series of urns, columns, monoliths and headstones, many of them inscribed.’
      • ‘The tops of monuments, urns and such, were broken off and lying on the grass.’
      • ‘Rooms full of armour and weaponry, another with a Russian stone urn that is so heavy they couldn't move it even during the fire.’
      • ‘An ornamental Grecian brazier, or urn, is back in place on top of a 100 ft high column at Castle Howard.’
      • ‘Water spills from an antique French stone urn into a rectangular pool and a narrow, 18-inch-deep channel in this San Clemente, California, garden.’
      • ‘But the level of effort it must have taken to make these pots and urns is incredible - of all the entrants these demonstrate knowledge and achievement most.’
  • 2A large metal container with a tap, in which tea or coffee is made and kept hot, or water for making such drinks is boiled.

    ‘a tea urn’
    • ‘Once the power was restored, the members, led by the emergency services manager, boiled up urns of water for teas and coffees and cooked bacon baps by the dozen.’
    • ‘Most Mondays for the past 12 years he has rushed home after work to put the kettle on and fill up flasks with tea and coffee and carry an urn of home-made soup out to his van for the hungry people looking forward to seeing him.’
    • ‘Tea, the national beverage, is made in metal urns called samovars.’
    • ‘Hand beaten copper urns and brass coffee pots shone new and fresh in the shadowy, relative cool of the interior.’
    • ‘Either the alarm clock didn't work or she hadn't heard it, so she had to hustle out with nothing but a cup of the substandard complimentary coffee from the urn in the lobby.’
    • ‘She picked up the coffee urn and starts filling their cups.’
    • ‘As usual, Joan Armour was present at center stage or behind the scenes, as necessary, to keep the logistics manageable, the computers humming, and the coffee urns flowing.’
    • ‘On offer were the customary rice cookers, fans, hot water urns and last but not least gold.’
    • ‘‘I was a little disappointed about the price for the coffee urn because that was unique,’ said Mr Manning.’
    • ‘On a card table in the corner was a large restaurant-style coffee urn, and cups, saucers.’
    • ‘Some people will also use this kind of pantry closet to store occasional-use items, such as large platters and coffee urns.’
    • ‘Doris had to carry tea in urns to the potato gathers that ate their sandwiches out of plastic bread wrappers while counting their sacks of potatoes.’
    • ‘He handed the stack of paper cups and the tea urn he was carrying to a man who was helping him in his charitable work.’
    • ‘Silver urns of coffee could be glimpsed through the kitchen window.’
    • ‘He changed the strategy, boiling the water at his office and transporting the freshly made tea in urns.’
    • ‘The bar from the film has been re-created and placed in situ, with the memorable taps, tea urns and display cases.’
    • ‘You may think it's a place of steaming tea urns and the buttering of scones but it's a lot more than that.’
    • ‘The tea urn is now housed at the museum's collection storage facility.’
    • ‘They passed cabinets and shelves filled with strange bottles and flasks and urns.’
    • ‘The publisher of the Miami Herald, visiting New York, hands out eyewash and alcohol swabs, unloads trash bins, refills a huge coffee urn.’


[with object] archaic
  • Place in an urn.


Late Middle English from Latin urna; related to urceus ‘pitcher’.