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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 ?
The gloom which surrounded that horrible charnel pit, which seemed to go down to the very bowels of the earth, conveyed from far down the sights and sounds of the nethermost hell.
His disordered mind interpreted the hall of the forest as a charnel place.
For the odors of these ghastly charnel houses there may be words in Lithuanian, but there are none in English.
In the awful stench of these frightful charnel isles haggard maniacs screamed and gibbered and fought among the torn remnants of their grisly feasts; while on those which contained but clean-picked bones they battled with one another, the weaker furnishing sustenance for the stronger; or with clawlike hands clutched at the bloated bodies that drifted down with the current.
And yet, believing this with absolute conviction, they somehow lacked the nerve to rush the frail wraith of a man with the white skin and escape from the charnel house by the whale-boats.
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.
It sounds like Britain is one great, bloody charnel house for animals, soon to be legally confirmed by the Tories as "sentient beings" able to feel pain.
First, if you're not careful, your romantic Valentine dreams will be swept away by the veritable tsunami of famous men being destroyed by revelations that have doomed them to the moral charnel houses of history.
Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet lipstick in Rouge Charnel, PS28, chanel.
However, patrol officers continued the search Saturday and received information that a suspect was on foot in the area of Charnel Mulligan Park near West 17th Avenue and Charnelton Street, Salsbury noted.
In 1945, the dazed remnants of European Jewry crawled out of charnel houses, basements and forests.
Steven Mullaney's The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare opens with a striking image: the charnel house of old St.