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dolmen

[dohl-men, -muh n, dol-] /ˈdoʊl mɛn, -mən, ˈdɒl-/
noun, Archaeology
1.
a structure usually regarded as a tomb, consisting of two or more large, upright stones set with a space between and capped by a horizontal stone.
Also called portal tomb.
Compare chamber tomb.
Origin
1855-1860
1855-60; < French < Cornish, lenited form of tolmen hole of stone (taken by French archeologists to mean cromlech)
Related forms
dolmenic
[dohl-men-ik, dol-] /doʊlˈmɛn ɪk, dɒl-/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for dolmens
  • Some of the dolmens and cromlechs are burial sites serving as well as border markers.
British Dictionary definitions for dolmens

dolmen

/ˈdɒlmɛn/
noun
1.
(in British archaeology) a Neolithic stone formation, consisting of a horizontal stone supported by several vertical stones, and thought to be a tomb
2.
(in French archaeology) any megalithic tomb
Word Origin
C19: from French, probably from Old Breton tol table, from Latin tabula board + Breton mēn stone, of Celtic origin; see table
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for dolmens
dolmen
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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