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cenote

[suh-noh-tee] /səˈnoʊ ti/
noun
1.
a deep natural well or sinkhole, especially in Central America, formed by the collapse of surface limestone that exposes ground water underneath, and sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; < Mexican Spanish < Yucatec Mayan
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cenote

cenote

/sɪˈnəʊteɪ/
noun
1.
(esp in the Yucatán peninsula) a natural well formed by the collapse of an overlying limestone crust: often used as a sacrificial site by the Mayas
Word Origin
C19: via Mexican Spanish from Maya conot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for cenote

(from Maya dz'onot), natural well or reservoir, common in the Yucatan Peninsula, formed when a limestone surface collapses, exposing water underneath. The major source of water in modern and ancient Yucatan, cenotes are also associated with the cult of the rain gods, or Chacs. In ancient times, notably at Chichen Itza, precious objects, such as jade, gold, copper, and incense and also human beings, usually children, were thrown into the cenotes as offerings. A survivor was believed to bring a message from the gods about the year's crops

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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