Use the noun catacomb to talk about an old underground cemetery. The most famous catacombs were built by the ancient Romans.

You're most likely to come across this word in its plural form, catacombs, and it's almost always used in the context of the ancient Roman empire. A catacomb is shaped like a long tunnel, with space for bodies to be buried, often in tombs. The root word is the Late Latin catacumbae, which refers to one specific catacomb under the Appian Way in ancient Rome, in which the Biblical apostles Peter and Paul are said to be buried.

Definitions of catacomb
  1. noun
    an underground tunnel with recesses where bodies were buried (as in ancient Rome)
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a passageway through or under something, usually underground (especially one for trains or cars)
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week