also sepulcher, c. 1200, sepulcre, "tomb, burial place," especially the cave where Jesus was buried outside Jerusalem (Holy Sepulcher or Saint Sepulcher), from Old French sepulcre, sepulchre, "tomb; the Holy Sepulchre" (11c.), from Latin sepulcrum (also, erroneously, sepulchrum) "grave, tomb, place where a corpse is buried," from root of sepelire "to bury, embalm," originally "to perform rituals on a corpse."
This is held to be from PIE *sepel-io- "to honor," with a cognate in Sanskrit saparyati "to honor, worship." Whited sepulchre "hypocrite" is from Matthew xxiii.27.
updated on May 15, 2022