c.1200, "tomb, burial place," esp. the cave where Jesus was buried outside Jerusalem (Holy Sepulcher or Saint Sepulcher), from O.Fr. sepulcre (11c.), from L. sepulcrum "grave, tomb," from root of sepelire "to bury," originally "to perform rituals on a corpse" (cf. Skt. saparyati "honors"). No reason for the -ch- spelling. Sepulchral "gloomy" is from 1711.