also sepulcher, c. 1200, "tomb, burial place," especially the cave where Jesus was buried outside Jerusalem (Holy Sepulcher or Saint Sepulcher), from Old French sepulcre "tomb; the Holy Sepulchre" (11c.), from Latin sepulcrum "grave, tomb, place where a corpse is buried," from root of sepelire "to bury, embalm," originally "to perform rituals on a corpse," from PIE *sep-el-yo-, suffixed form of root *sep- (2) "to handle (skillfully), to hold (reverently);" source also of Sanskrit saparyati "honors." No reason for the -ch- spelling, which dates to 13c. Whited sepulchre "hypocrite" is from Matthew xxiii.27.
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