sarcophagus


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sar·coph·a·gus

 (sär-kŏf′ə-gəs)
n. pl. sar·coph·a·gi (-jī′) or sar·coph·a·gus·es
A stone coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture.

[Latin, from Greek sarkophagos, coffin, from (lithos) sarkophagos, limestone that consumed the flesh of corpses laid in it : sarx, sark-, flesh + -phagos, -phagous.]
Word History: Sarcophagus, our term for a stone coffin located above ground, has a macabre origin befitting a macabre thing. Its ultimate source is the Greek word sarkophagos, "eating flesh, carnivorous," a compound derived from sarx, "flesh," and phagein, "to eat." Sarkophagos was also used in the phrase lithos ("stone") sarkophagos to denote a kind of limestone with caustic properties from which coffins were made in the ancient world. The Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder says that this stone was quarried near the town of Assos in the Troad and describes its remarkable properties as follows: "It is well known that the bodies of the dead placed in it will be completely consumed after forty days, except for the teeth." The Greek term sarkophagos could also be used by itself as a noun to mean simply "coffin." Greek sarkophagos was borrowed into Latin as sarcophagus and used in the phrase lapis ("stone") sarcophagus to refer to the same stone as in Greek. In Latin, too, sarcophagus came to be used as a noun meaning "coffin made of any material." The first known attestation of the word sarcophagus in English dates from 1601 and occurs in a translation of Pliny's description of the stone. Later, sarcophagus begins to be used in English with the meaning "stone coffin," especially in descriptions of sarcophagi from antiquity.

sarcophagus

(sɑːˈkɒfəɡəs)
n, pl -gi (-ˌɡaɪ) or -guses
a stone or marble coffin or tomb, esp one bearing sculpture or inscriptions
[C17: via Latin from Greek sarkophagos flesh-devouring; from the type of stone used, which was believed to destroy the flesh of corpses]

sar•coph•a•gus

(sɑrˈkɒf ə gəs)

n., pl. -gi (-ˌdʒaɪ, -ˌgaɪ) -gus•es.
a stone coffin, esp. one bearing sculpture, inscriptions, etc., often displayed as a monument.
[1595–1605; < Latin < Greek sarkophágos coffin]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sarcophagus - a stone coffin (usually bearing sculpture or inscriptions)sarcophagus - a stone coffin (usually bearing sculpture or inscriptions)
casket, coffin - box in which a corpse is buried or cremated
Translations
sarkofág
sarkofag
sarkofagi
sarkofag
szarkofág
石棺
sarkofag
sarkofag

sarcophagus

[sɑːˈkɒfəgəs] N (sarcophaguses or sarcophagi (pl)) [sɑːˈkɒfəgaɪ]sarcófago m

sarcophagus

[sɑːrˈkɒfəgəs] [sarcophagi] [sɑːrˈkɒfəgaɪ] (pl) nsarcophage m

sarcophagus

n pl <sarcophagi> → Sarkophag m

sarcophagus

[sɑːˈkɒfəgəs] n (sarcophaguses or sarcophagi (pl)) → sarcofago
References in classic literature ?
Near by was the sarcophagus, lighted by the dripping candles.
Helpless, ridiculous, confined, bobbing like a toy mandarin, you sit like a rat in a trap--you, before whom butlers cringe on solid land--and must squeak upward through a slit in your peripatetic sarcophagus to make your feeble wishes known.
She singled out from their number an old salt, whose bare arms and feet, and exposed breast, were covered with as many inscriptions in India ink as the lid of an Egyptian sarcophagus. Notwithstanding all the sly hints and remonstrances of the French officers, she immediately approached the man, and pulling further open the bosom of his duck frock, and rolling up the leg of his wide trousers, she gazed with admiration at the bright blue and vermilion pricking thus disclosed to view.
'Durdles was making his reflections here when you come up, sir, surrounded by his works, like a poplar Author.--Your own brother-in-law;' introducing a sarcophagus within the railing, white and cold in the moonlight.
And who substituted for the ancient gothic altar, splendidly encumbered with shrines and reliquaries, that heavy marble sarcophagus, with angels' heads and clouds, which seems a specimen pillaged from the Val-de-Grâce or the Invalides?
A modern traveller, in twelve lines, burdens the poor little island with the following titles, -- it is a grave, tomb, pyramid, cemetery, sepulchre, catacomb, sarcophagus, minaret, and mausoleum!
Lying in it, as in a grave or sarcophagus, with a hurried drapery of sheet and blanket thrown across it, was the body of a heavily-made man, with an obtuse head, and coarse, mean, common features.
A grand piano stood mas- sively in a corner, with dark gleams on the flat sur- faces like a somber and polished sarcophagus. A high door opened--closed.
"What we would really like to find would be some other artifacts inside the sarcophagus.
Picon, curator in charge of the Greek and Roman collections at the Metropolitan Museum, introduces two recent major acquisitions that have gone on show in the new galleries: a magnificent sarcophagus and a marble vase with snake handles.
He was buried "in the bare earth" as he requested, not in a majestic marble sarcophagus like many of his predecessors.
He was buried ``in the bare earth'' as he requested, not in a majestic marble sarcophagus like many of his predecessors.