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. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 9:23
  • This is yet another example of how embedding video/audio in the question would be helpful. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 11:58
  • It might be a false memory. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 11:59
  • I did find a couple technical references to abandoned nuke sites that include the collocation "core tomb".
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 1:12
  • 1
    It's listed in the commonly available reference Thesaurus.com (under 'mausoleum'). Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


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

  • The pronunciation with /o/ is today more common than the one with /u/.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 16:41
  • 3
    @tchrist I've never heard "kattakom"; always kattakoom in the UK, at least.
    – Lordology
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 16:43
  • I'm never heard catacoom with /u/ either, only catacome with /o/. Listen to these.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 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
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 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
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 20:03

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