A subterranean place for the burial of the dead. The Persians have a city they call Comb or Coom, full of mausoleums and the sepulchres of the Persian saints. (Greek, kata-kumbe, a hollow place underground.) (See Koom .)
“The most awful idea connected with the catacombs is their interminable extent, and the possibility of going astray in the labyrinth of darkness.” —Hawthorne: Marble Faun, iii.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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