Graveyard/cemetery

This is a discussion thread · 65 replies
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
iwasaki:
A friend of mine asked me the difference between "graveyard" and "cemetery". I didn't know. So she looked up her dictionary and said, "Oh, I got it. "Graveyard" is associated with a church, and "cemetery" is not." I said, thanks, and after I came back home, I checked my dictionary so that I wouldn't forget what she told me. But it says neither of them is associated with church, and "churchyard" is. Online dictionaries (M-W and AHD) simply say "graveyard" is "cemetery" and "cemetery" is "graveyard". So, my question is, what is the difference between "graveyard" and "cemetery"? Is there any difference?

Nobuko Iwasaki
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
CyberCypher:
on 05 Nov 2003:
[nq:1]A friend of mine asked me the difference between "graveyard" and "cemetery". I didn't know. So she looked up her ... and "cemetery" is "graveyard". So, my question is, what is the difference between "graveyard" and "cemetery"? Is there any difference?[/nq]
W3NID says this of "cemetary":
an area for burial or entombment:
a : a Roman catacomb
b : a consecrated churchyard
c : any burial ground, typically a large one : GRAVEYARD

It says this of "graveyard:
1 : a yard or enclosure for the interment of the dead : CEMETERY
2 a : an organization or situation that brings something to an *** Ministry of Agriculture (that graveyard of English political reputations) Roy Lewis & Angus Maude* a bill lost in one of the graveyard committees of the legislature b : a place where disused, obsolete, or worn-out equipment is stored or held in reserve for emergency use; especially : a yard where old automobiles are stored or broken up for parts and scrap

3 a : a melancholy and romantically gloomy place a graveyard schoolof poetry b : a dull or unpleasing place
It associates "cemetary" but not "graveyard" with a "consecrated churchyard". For most native English speakers they are probably pretty much interchangeable, but "graveyard" is often used to mean a place where things and beings go to* die, eg "the elephant graveyard" in Africa that is filled with ivory tusks. A cemetary is always a place to go *after one is dead. A graveyard can be any kind of junkyard, but a cemetary is where bodies are buried and ashes are sometimes entombed.
There are pet cemetaries but not pet graveyards, and you might call somewhere a number of people have dumped their bicycles or hair dryers or kitchen appliances a bicycle graveyard, hair-dryer graveyard, or kitchen-appliance graveyard, but never a cemetary.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Harvey Van Sickle:
[nq:1]W3NID says this of "cemetary":[/nq]
I'm willing to bet that W3NID doesn't have an entry for "cemetary"..

(I wouldn't have remarked on it except you've used that spelling throughout your post it must be right up there with "misspelled" as one of English's most-often-misspelled words.)

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
CyberCypher:
on 05 Nov 2003:
[nq:1]On 05 Nov 2003, CyberCypher wrote[/nq]
[nq:2]W3NID says this of "cemetary":[/nq]
[nq:1]I'm willing to bet that W3NID doesn't have an entry for "cemetary".. (I wouldn't have remarked on it except you've used that spelling throughout your post it must be right up there with "misspelled" as one of English's most-often-misspelled words.)[/nq]
The older I get, the worse my spelling becomes. And I forget whether it's the antihypertension A-, B-, & C-blockers or the psychotropic I take every day that causes this, whatever it is I'm talking about at the moment.
I don't know about that. I don't often see the word in print. I think "definately" and "seperate(ly)" are probably much higher on the list, though.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Harvey Van Sickle:
[nq:1]on 05 Nov 2003:[/nq]
[nq:2]On 05 Nov 2003, CyberCypher wrote I'm willing to bet ... up there with "misspelled" as one of English's most-often-misspelled words.)[/nq]
snip
[nq:1]I don't know about that. I don't often see the word in print. I think "definately" and "seperate(ly)" are probably much higher on the list, though.[/nq]
Yeah, probably I tend to see "cemetary" a lot, as I work with maps and other topographical material.
(I wonder if it's a reluctance to repeat a letter too many times: I've always had a problem with "consensus", which just looks wrong.)

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Robert Bannister:
[nq:1]On 05 Nov 2003, CyberCypher wrote[/nq]
[nq:2]W3NID says this of "cemetary":[/nq]
[nq:1]I'm willing to bet that W3NID doesn't have an entry for "cemetary".. (I wouldn't have remarked on it except you've used that spelling throughout your post it must be right up there with "misspelled" as one of English's most-often-misspelled words.)[/nq]
I'm so glad you pointed that out. It's one of the words I either misspell or at least worry about, and when I saw this, I got really worried.

Rob Bannister
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
iwasaki:
[nq:1]W3NID says this of "cemetary": : an area for burial or entombment: a : a Roman catacomb b : a ... their bicycles or hair dryers or kitchen appliances a bicycle graveyard, hair-dryer graveyard, or kitchen-appliance graveyard, but never a cemetary.[/nq]
Thank you for the explanation.
Now I understand why pet cemeteries are always pet cemeteries, not pet graveyards. I was told, when I was a kid, cats wouldn't show their body to people when they die. When a cat I had in my childhood disappeared, I wondered where she had gone to. Maybe she went to the cat graveyard (in this case).

Nobuko Iwasaki
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Steve Hayes:
[nq:1]A friend of mine asked me the difference between "graveyard" and "cemetery". I didn't know. So she looked up her ... and "cemetery" is "graveyard". So, my question is, what is the difference between "graveyard" and "cemetery"? Is there any difference?[/nq]
A nun told a joke about a monk who objected to someone saying that a Christian had been buried in a graveyard, saying it was not a graveyard, but a cemetery. But when the person then spoke a Jew being buried in a cemetery, the monk said no, it's not a cemetary but a grasveyard.
But the joke was told in Greek, and the Greek for "graveyard" is "nekrotafia", meaning "tombs of the dead". It referred to differences between Christian and Jewish beliefs about the resurrection of the dead.

But that was just a joke. In practice there is little difference, except that "graveyard" is native English and "cemetery" is derived from Greek. It's a bit like the differene between "motherhood" and "maternity", or "handbook" and "manual".

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Peter H.M. Brooks:
[nq:1]. But that was just a joke. In practice there is little difference, exceptthat "graveyard" is native English and "cemetery" is derived from Greek. It's abit like the differene between "motherhood" and "maternity", or "handbook" and "manual".[/nq]
It is one of the reasons I have found it peculiar that some people refer to their garden as their 'yard'. To me there are prison yards, graveyards, exercise yards, stable yards, inn-yards and so forth, none of them particularly pleasant, so I prefer to refer to a cultivated plot of land behind or in front of a house as a garden and reserve 'yard' for uncultivated, paved or tarmac enclosures.
Of course, Fred West's garden was a yard, and a grave yard at that.

"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." - Oscar Wilde
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Show more
Live chat
Registered users can join here