Definition of ossuary in English:


Translate ossuary into Spanish

nounplural noun ossuaries

  • A container or room in which the bones of dead people are placed.

    ‘The ossuary contains the bones from six different people, including a male aged about sixty.’
    • ‘The site is made up of a burial area, an individual ossuary tower, a common ossuary / cinerary, and a service area.’
    • ‘The French buried individually where they could, but they too used mass graves and ossuaries, and favoured the concentration of the dead into large nécropoles nationaux.’
    • ‘It has three main parts: the low density burial area with individual graves partly dug into the hillside; an individual ossuary tower; and a cloistered ossuary and store for cinerary remains.’
    • ‘Experts say the ossuary may have held the bones of James of Jerusalem, who is referred to in the New Testament as a brother of Jesus.’
    • ‘Now according to some sources I've read, the bones are removed from the tomb and placed into the ossuary one year after the body was laid to rest.’
    • ‘Three to seven years after burial, the bones of the deceased are exhumed and placed in a family vault or a communal ossuary.’
    • ‘First, according to Rahmani on Jerusalem burial practices, most ossuaries are from the period between 30/20 BCE - 70 CE - but by no means all.’
    • ‘From the first century B.C. to about 70 A.D., it was the burial custom of Jews to place their dead in a cave for a year, then retrieve the bones and put them in an ossuary.’
    • ‘In the case of the James ossuary, there would have indeed been room on the front, yet the scribe elected to carve the inscription on the back.’
    • ‘In the case of the James ossuary, for example, it's alleged that the forgers took an authentically old box that was inscribed simply ‘James, son of Joseph.’’
    • ‘The practice is carried out under the auspices of the local Greek Orthodox priest: the remains being cleaned, bundled or boxed, labeled and then placed into a communal ossuary or storage building in the cemetery.’
    • ‘Just hours before it was due to be unveiled to the media, the museum admitted that the ossuary had been seriously damaged in transit, creating cracks that would require its conservators' closest attention.’
    • ‘We visited an ossuary at Kutna Hora (a small medieval village near Prague) which contained the remains of several thousand dedicated churchgoers.’
    • ‘Church ossuaries have had to be closed because little old ladies used to steal bones for lack of official relics, and put them in their homes.’
    • ‘The ossuary is not quite rectangular, like most burial boxes found so far, but trapezoid in shape.’
    • ‘Jacob, Joseph, and Jesus were common enough names in first-century Israel, so there could easily have been a number of people whose genealogy matched that on the alleged ossuary of James.’
    • ‘Other early rings whose dates appear trustworthy include the six that came from the 1636 ossuary at Ossossane.’
    • ‘He believes that there's a distinct possibility this is the real ossuary of James, although he admits that the current evidence would not hold up in court.’
    • ‘At Verdun, scene of the most murderous battle of the war, a massive ossuary was built to commemorate those 300,000 soldiers whose bodies had never been found or identified.’



/ˈäSHəˌwerē/ /ˈɑʃəˌwɛri/ /ˈäs(y)əˌwerē/ /ˈɑs(j)əˌwɛri/


Early 17th century from Latin ossuarium, from ossua, variant of ossa, plural of os, oss- ‘bone’ (see os).