Usually, catacombs. an underground cemetery, especially one consisting of tunnels and rooms with recesses dug out for coffins and tombs.
the Catacombs, the subterranean burial chambers of the early Christians in and near Rome, Italy.
an underground passageway, especially one full of twists and turns.
Historical Examples

So thick was this door, so impenetrable, that its closing was succeeded by the stillness of vault or catacomb.
Jewel Mysteries Max Pemberton

The plan of the catacomb of S. Priscilla is a good illustration of this.
Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy

Adelaide inquired eagerly, for this was the night of the catacomb party.
Witch Winnie’s Mystery, or The Old Oak Cabinet Elizabeth W. Champney

The only marvel is, how he comes to be hiding himself in the catacomb.
The Marble Faun, Volume I. Nathaniel Hawthorne

This catacomb has been often rifled, and the galleries are strewn with marble fragments of its monuments.
The Catacombs of Rome William Henry Withrow

He entered the catacomb June 7, 1831, and obtained eleven mummies.
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Volume 2 Joseph Smith

And now this mysterious discovery of Quintus Claudius in the catacomb with the Nazarenes!
Quintus Claudius, Volume 2 of 2 Ernst Eckstein

A striking example of this occurs in the catacomb of Callixtus.
The Catacombs of Rome William Henry Withrow

The burial-chapels of the fourth century commonly found over a catacomb probably replace earlier tombs.
Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy

They occur in a gallery of the catacomb, not far from the Appian Way.
The Catacombs of Rome William Henry Withrow

(usually pl) an underground burial place, esp the galleries at Rome, consisting of tunnels with vaults or niches leading off them for tombs
a series of interconnected underground tunnels or caves

usually catacombs, from Old English catacumbas, from Late Latin (400 C.E.) catacumbae (plural), originally the region of underground tombs between the 2nd and 3rd milestones of the Appian Way (where the bodies of apostles Paul and Peter, among others, were said to have been laid), origin obscure, perhaps once a proper name, or dissimilation from Latin cata tumbas “at the graves,” from cata- “among” + tumbas. accusative plural of tumba “tomb” (see tomb).

If so, the word perhaps was altered by influence of Latin -cumbere “to lie.” From the same source are French catacombe, Italian catacomba, Spanish catacumba. Extended by 1836 in English to any subterranean receptacle of the dead (as in Paris). Related: Catacumbal.


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