What is the origin of columbarium?
Columbarium “a sepulchral vault with recesses in the walls for cremation urns” is a direct borrowing from Latin, in which the term means “a nesting box for pigeons” or, more simply, “a place for doves,” from columba “pigeon, dove” and the suffix -ārium, which denotes a location where something is stored or regularly found. A columbarium was originally an oversized birdhouse containing small alcoves in which pigeons could build their nests. From there, while the name and general shape was kept, a columbarium became a place in which the alcoves could house cremation urns. While columba itself is of uncertain origin, it is the source of given names such as Callum and Malcolm (by way of Celtic languages); surnames such as Coleman, Colombo, and Colón; and geographic names such as Colombia and Columbia—both the Canadian province and the American district. Columbarium was first recorded in English in the 1840s.