[too-myuh-luhs, tyoo-]
noun, plural tumuluses, tumuli [too-myuh-lahy, tyoo-] .
Archaeology. an artificial mound, especially over a grave; barrow.
Geology. a domelike swelling or mound formed in congealed lava.

1680–90; < Latin: mound, swelling, equivalent to tum(ēre) to swell + -ulus -ule

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tumulus (ˈtjuːmjʊləs)
n , pl -li
archaeol (no longer in technical usage) another word for barrow
[C17: from Latin: a hillock, from tumēre to swell up]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

ancient burial mound, 1686, from L. tumulus "hillock," from tumere "to swell" (see thigh).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in England, ancient burial place covered with a large mound of earth. In Scotland, Ireland, and Wales the equivalent term is cairn. Barrows were constructed in England from Neolithic (c. 4000 BC) until late pre-Christian (c. AD 600) times. Barrows of the Neolithic Period were long and contained the various members of a family or clan, while those of the Early Bronze Age (c. 1900 BC) were round in shape and were used to bury a single important individual, perhaps a chief or clan leader. The bodies were placed in stone or wooden vaults, over which large mounds of soil were heaped. Both types of barrows continued to be used in England until the advent of Christianity. Their sites are most common in the county of Wiltshire.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
In the centre was a hillock or tumulus, surmounted by a scorched hawthorn.
The pressure uplifts the crust at some weak point to form a tumulus.
Tumulus and vault facilities are now typically used at these humid sites.
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