1859, from Fr. dolmin
applied 1796 by Fr. archaeologist Latour d'Auvergne, perhaps from Cornish tolmen
"enormous stone slab set up on supporting points," such that a man may walk under it, lit. "hole of stone," from Celt. men
"stone." Some suggest the first element may be Bret. taol
"table," a loan-word from L. tabula
"board, plank," but the Bret. form of this compound would be taolvean.
"There is reason to think that this [tolmen
] is the word inexactly reproduced by Latour d'Auvergne as dolmin,
and misapplied by him and succeeding Fr. archaeologists to the cromlech
" [OED]. See cromlech
, which is properly an upright flat stone, often arranged as one of a circle.