noun, plural sarcophagi [sahr-kof-uh-jahy] , sarcophaguses.
a stone coffin, especially one bearing sculpture, inscriptions, etc., often displayed as a monument.
Greek Antiquity. a kind of stone thought to consume the flesh of corpses, used for coffins.

1595–1605; < Latin < Greek sarkophágos, noun use of the adj.; see sarcophagous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sarcophagus (sɑːˈkɒfəɡəs)
n , pl -gi, -guses
a stone or marble coffin or tomb, esp one bearing sculpture or inscriptions
[C17: via Latin from Greek sarkophagos flesh-devouring; from the type of stone used, which was believed to destroy the flesh of corpses]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"stone coffin," 1601, from L. sarcophagus, from Gk. sarkophagos "limestone used for coffins," lit. "flesh-eating," in reference to the supposed action of this type of limestone (quarried near Assos in Troas) in quickly decomposing the body, from sarx (gen. sarkos) "flesh" (see
sarcasm) + phagein "to eat" (see -phagous). The stone sense was the earliest in Eng,; meaning "stone coffin, often with inscriptions or decorative carvings" is recorded from 1705. The L. word, shortened in V.L. to *sarcus, is the source of Fr. cercueil, Ger. Sarg "coffin," Du. zerk "tombstone."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Scientists have also detected ammonia gas, formaldehyde, and hydrogen sulfide inside sealed sarcophagi.
The tombs held dazzling funereal treasures such as golden masks, coffins of silver, and elaborate sarcophagi.
Types of burial containers including urns, caskets, and sarcophagi.
Eight of the mummies were in stone coffins, or sarcophagi.
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