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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Cist \Cist\, n. [L. cista box, chest, Gr. ? Cf. Chest.]

  1. (Antiq.) A box or chest. Specifically:

    1. A bronze receptacle, round or oval, frequently decorated with engravings on the sides and cover, and with feet, handles, etc., of decorative castings.

    2. A cinerary urn. See Illustration in Appendix.

  2. See Cyst.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"sepulchral chest or chamber," 1804, in some cases from Latin cista "wickerwork basket, box," from Greek kiste "box, chest" (see chest); according to OED, in some cases from Welsh cist in cist faen "stone coffin," the first element of which is from the Latin word.


Etymology 1 n. A small receptacle for sacred utensils carried in festivals in ancient Greece Etymology 2

n. (context archaeology English) A crypt cut into rock, chalk, or a tree trunk, especially a coffin formed by placing stone slabs on edge and topping them with a horizontal slab or slabs.


A cist ( or ; also kist ; from or Germanic Kiste) is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East. A cist may have been associated with other monuments, perhaps under a cairn or long barrow. Several cists are sometimes found close together within the same cairn or barrow. Often ornaments have been found within an excavated cist, indicating the wealth or prominence of the interred individual.

Cist (disambiguation)

A cist is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead.

Cist or CIST may also refer to:

  • Cistaceae, a small family of plants
  • CIST-FM, a radio station
  • Common and Internal Spanning Tree; see IEEE 802.1aq

Usage examples of "cist".

On the left of the plan will be seen a small room or storage cist still intact.

It is in the northeast corner, at a point where the wall has fallen and been replaced by a Navaho burial cist also fallen in ruin, and was constructed of stone.

Owing to the soft ground underneath, it was easier to excavate a hole and wall it up than to construct the regular surface cist, and the former plan was followed.

The front wall was extended beyond this and brought in again to the cliff on a curve, forming another small cist of irregular shape.

To the left of the cist a round hole 6 or 8 inches in diameter has been pecked into the almost vertical face of the rock.

Plate LXII shows a typical cist in good order and another such broken down.

At the southern end there is a small cist and on the western side near the entrance there is another hardly a foot in diameter.

Attached to this bay, at its northern end, is a small cist about 3 feet in diameter, and with its floor sunk to the level of the floor of the main room.

In the eastern side of the circular room last described there is a storage cist about 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep.

Attached to its southern end by a passage only a foot in length is a small room or storage cist about 5 feet in diameter.

At its northeastern corner there is another room or cist similar in shape, about 7 feet in diameter, and reached by a passage 2 feet long.

At the northeastern corner of the principal apartment there is an oblong chamber or storage cist, measuring 6 feet by 7 feet.

But that vile decoction which has ruined so many hearths and homes had cist its shadow over her childhood days.

Navaho burial cists in the lower ruin, at the points shown on the ground plan.

The western end of the ruin has been partially restored by the Navaho and used for burial cists, and other cists have been built on the site independent of the old walls, as shown on the plan.