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[kol-uh m-bair-ee-uh m] /ˌkɒl əmˈbɛər i əm/
noun, plural columbaria
[kol-uh m-bair-ee-uh] /ˌkɒl əmˈbɛər i ə/ (Show IPA)
a sepulchral vault or other structure with recesses in the walls to receive the ashes of the dead.
any one of these recesses.
Origin of columbarium
1840-50; < Latin: literally, a nesting box for pigeons, equivalent to columb(a) pigeon, dove + -ārium -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for columbarium
  • Addresses for urns within a columbarium-it was almost too precious.
  • The columbarium is a wall with honeycomb niches for urns filled with cremated remains.
  • The columbarium is proposed to be within a courtyard area within the educational building addition.
  • The cemetery also includes a columbarium wall for those who choose cremation.
  • The cones are to be placed in the gravel area surrounding the columbarium.
  • Please confirm if this is the same limestone as on the building and columbarium.
  • Double plots are available in the columbarium niche or the cremation stone.
British Dictionary definitions for columbarium


noun (pl) -ia (-ɪə)
another name for a dovecote
a vault having niches for funeral urns
a hole in a wall into which a beam is inserted
Word Origin
C18: from Latin, from columba dove
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for columbarium

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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