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"subterranean sepulchre in ancient Roman places with niches for urns holding remains," neuter of Latin columbarius, "dove-cote" (so called from resemblance), literally "pertaining to doves;" from columba "dove." Literal sense of "dove-cote" is attested in English from 1881.
sepulchral building containing many small niches for cinerary urns. The term is derived from the Latin columba ("dove," or "pigeon"), and it originally referred to a pigeon house or dovecote. It later acquired its more common meaning by association