noun, plural cem·e·ter·ies.
- an area set apart for or containing graves, tombs, or funeral urns, especially one that is not a churchyard; burial ground; graveyard.
noun plural -teries
- a place where the dead are buried, esp one not attached to a church
late 14c., from Old French cimetiere “graveyard” (12c.), from Late Latin coemeterium, from Greek koimeterion “sleeping place, dormitory,” from koiman “to put to sleep,” keimai “I lie down,” from PIE root *kei- “to lie, rest,” also “bed, couch,” hence secondary sense of “beloved, dear” (cf. Greek keisthai “to lie, lie asleep,” Old Church Slavonic semija “family, domestic servants,” Lithuanian šeima “domestic servants,” Lettish sieva “wife,” Old English hiwan “members of a household,” higid “measure of land,” Latin cunae “a cradle,” Sanskrit Sivah “propitious, gracious”). Early Christian writers were the first to use it for “burial ground,” though the Greek word also had been anciently used in reference to the sleep of death. An Old English word for “cemetery” was licburg.