"act of burying," late 13c.; earlier "tomb" (c. 1200), false singular from Old English byrgels "tomb," from byrgan "to bury" + suffix -els; a compound also found in Old Saxon burgisli, suggesting a Proto-Germanic *burgisli-, from PIE root *bhergh- (1) "to hide, protect." The Germanic suffix *-isli- (also in riddle (n.1), Old English hydels "hiding place," fætels "bag") became obsolete and was felt as a plural of the Latin-derived suffix -al (2) forming nouns of action from verbs (survival, approval, removal, etc.). In the "act of burying a dead person" sense it is now regarded as bury + -al. Burial-ground is from 1803.
updated on October 25, 2022