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A repository for the bones or bodies of the dead; a charnel house.
Resembling, suggesting, or suitable for receiving the dead.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin carnāle, from neuter of Latin carnālis, of the flesh, from carō, carn-, flesh; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]


short for charnel house
ghastly; sepulchral; deathly
[C14: from Old French: burial place, from Latin carnālis fleshly, carnal]


(ˈtʃɑr nl)

n. adj.
2. of, like, or fit for a charnel house.
[1350–1400; < Middle French < Late Latin neuter of carnālis carnal]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.charnel - a vault or building where corpses or bones are deposited
burial vault, vault - a burial chamber (usually underground)
Adj.1.charnel - gruesomely indicative of death or the dead; "a charnel smell came from the chest filled with dead men's bones"; "ghastly shrieks"; "the sepulchral darkness of the catacombs"
offensive - unpleasant or disgusting especially to the senses; "offensive odors"
References in classic literature ?
For the odors of these ghastly charnel houses there may be words in Lithuanian, but there are none in English.
His disordered mind interpreted the hall of the forest as a charnel place.
The entire surface of this metallic enclosure was rudely daubed in all the hideous and repulsive devices to which the charnel superstition of the monks has given rise.