Example sentence:

In 1984 the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) successfully constructed a General Electric nuclear boiling water reactor about 60 miles east of New York City. However, before the power-on testing would begin, an oil-financed, anti-nuclear, pro-solar power campaign had swept through the small town of Shoreham, NY, where the plant was located, eventually mobilizing the locals to successfully prevent LILCO from ever doing any start-up tests at all, and ultimately winning the legal battle for the power station's decommissioning.

Today the site, complete and intact, is frozen in time as a non-living museum of sorts, in its 25th year of neglect. This [chartomb] is as an empty a vessel as the promise it once held: to displace 3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. Neighbored by gas and wind-turbines taking advantage of its grid infrastructure, it stands sentry over the area, now as CO2 contributor.

The word in the brackets shares a similar meaning with mausoleum or sarcophagus. It's expansive and sprawling, but barren and left to the elements.

IPA transcription: /tʃaːtuːm/

  • Was it "charred tomb"? Can you provide a link, please, with a time if it's a video. – Weather Vane Oct 29 '19 at 9:23
  • This is yet another example of how embedding video/audio in the question would be helpful. – Cascabel Oct 29 '19 at 11:58
  • It might be a false memory. – Louis Waweru Oct 29 '19 at 11:59
  • I did find a couple technical references to abandoned nuke sites that include the collocation "core tomb". – Phil Sweet Oct 30 '19 at 1:12
  • 1
    It's listed in the commonly available reference Thesaurus.com (under 'mausoleum'). – Edwin Ashworth Nov 2 '19 at 16:39

You're looking for catacomb

/kætəkuːm/ or /katəkəʊm/
1. n. (usually catacombs) An underground cemetery consisting of a subterranean gallery with recesses for tombs, as constructed by the ancient Romans.

1.1 n. An underground construction resembling or compared to catacombs.

Definition 1.1 is the correct definition in this context.

Lexico Oxford Dictionaries

| improve this answer | |
  • The pronunciation with /o/ is today more common than the one with /u/. – tchrist Nov 2 '19 at 16:41
  • 3
    @tchrist I've never heard "kattakom"; always kattakoom in the UK, at least. – Lordology Nov 2 '19 at 16:43
  • I'm never heard catacoom with /u/ either, only catacome with /o/. Listen to these. – tchrist Nov 2 '19 at 16:56
  • @tchrist Wells in his Pronunciation Dictionary gives /ˈkætəku:m/ as the more common pronunciation in British English, /ˈkætəkəum/ as less common, and /ˈkæt̬əkoʊm/ as the only pronunciation in American English. – grandtout Nov 2 '19 at 19:46
  • @petitrien Shouldn't those phonetic allophones be in brackets not slashes? Why are you using slashes for things that aren't phonemes in English? This actually makes a big difference here. /kom/ and /kum/ are a minimal pair, but what you wrote is two kinds of /o/ and so, being mere allophones, don''t count to make them different words in the ear of the listener. – tchrist Nov 2 '19 at 20:03

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