Middle English cimitery, from Anglo-French cimiterie, from Late Latin coemeterium, from Greek koimētērion sleeping chamber, burial place, from koiman to put to sleep; akin to Greek keisthai to lie, Sanskrit śete he lies
- 1: a burial ground
- 2: The Oxford English Dictionary states that a cemetery is "A burial-ground generally; now esp. a large public park or ground laid out expressly for the interment of the dead, and not being the ‘yard’ of any church. (Cemetery c)" and that it "... originally applied to the Roman underground cemeteries or catacombs " Cemeteries are normally distinct from churchyards, which are typically consecrated according to one denomination and are attached directly to a single place of worship.
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term cemetery (from Greek κοιμητήριον: sleeping place) implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are the place where the final ceremonies of death are observed. These ceremonies or rites differ according to cultural practice and religious belief.
Usually there is a legal requirement to maintain records regarding the burials (or interment of ashes) within a cemetery. These burial registers usually contain (at a minimum) the name of the person buried, the date of burial and the location of the burial within the cemetery, although some burial registers contain far more information about the deceased person. Burial registers are an important resource for genealogy.
In order to physically manage the space within the cemetery (to avoid burials in existing graves) and to record locations in the burial register, most cemeteries have some systematic layout of graves in rows, generally grouped into larger sections as required. Often the cemetery displays this information in the form of a map, which is used both by the cemetery administration in managing their land use and also by friends and family members seeking to locate a particular grave within the cemetery.