AskDefine | Define monument

Dictionary Definition



1 a structure erected to commemorate persons or events [syn: memorial]
2 an important site that is marked and preserved as public property
3 a burial vault (usually for some famous person) [syn: repository]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin monumentum, “memorial” < Latin monēre, “to remind”



  1. A structure built for commemorative or symbolic reasons, or as a memorial; a commemoration.
    There is a monument on the town green to the soldiers who died in World War I.
  2. An important site owned by the community as a whole.
  3. An exceptionally or prideful achievement.
  4. An important burial vault or tomb.
  5. A legal document.
  6. A surveying reference point marked by a permanently fixed marker (a survey monument).

Related terms


a structure built for commemorative or symbolic reasons
an important site owned by the community as a whole
an exceptionally or prideful achievement
an important burial vault
a legal document

See also

Extensive Definition

A monument is a statue, building, or other edifice created to commemorate a person or important event. They are frequently used to improve the appearance of a city or location. Cities that are planned such as Washington D.C., New Delhi and Brasília are often built around monuments. The Washington Monument's location (and vertical geometry, though not physical detail) was conceived to help organize public space in the city before it was ever connected with George Washington. Older cities have monuments placed at locations that are already important or are sometimes redesigned to focus on one. As Shelley suggested in his famous poem "Ozymandias" ("Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"), the purpose of monuments is very often to impress or awe. In English the word "monumental" is often used in reference to something of extraordinary size and power. The word comes from the Latin "monere," which means 'to remind' or 'to warn.'
Functional structures made notable by their age, size or historic significance can also be regarded as monuments. This can happen because of great age and size, as in the case of the Great Wall of China, or because an event of great import occurred there such as the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France.
Monuments are also often designed to convey historical or political information. They can be used to reinforce the primacy of contemporary political power, such as the column of Trajan or the numerous statues of Lenin in the Soviet Union. They can be used to educate the populace about important events or figures from the past, such as in the renaming of the old General Post Office Building in New York City to the James A. Farley Building (James Farley Post Office), after former Postmaster General James Farley.
Monuments have been created for thousands of years, and they are often the most durable and famous symbols of ancient civilizations. The Egyptian Pyramids, the Greek Parthenon, and the Moai of Easter Island have become symbols of their civilizations. In more recent times, monumental structures such as the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower have become iconic emblems of modern nation-states. The term monumentality relates to the symbolic status and physical presence of a monument.
Until recently, it was customary for archaeologists to study large monuments and pay less attention to the everyday lives of the societies that created them. New ideas about what constitutes the archaeological record have revealed that certain legislative and theoretical approaches to the subject are too focused on earlier definitions of monuments. An example has been the United Kingdom's Scheduled Ancient Monument laws.


Types of monuments

monument in Arabic: نصب
monument in Czech: Monument
monument in German: Monument
monument in Esperanto: Monumento
monument in Spanish: Monumento
monument in Finnish: Monumentti
monument in French: Monument
monument in Hebrew: מונומנט
monument in Italian: Monumento
monument in Japanese: モニュメント
monument in Dutch: Monument (gedenkteken)
monument in Norwegian: Monument
monument in Polish: Pomnik
monument in Portuguese: Monumento
monument in Russian: Памятник
monument in Simple English: Monument
monument in Slovenian: Spomenik
monument in Swedish: Monument
monument in Thai: อนุสรณ์สถาน
monument in Turkish: Anıt
monument in Uighur: خاتىرە مۇنار
monument in Chinese: 古蹟

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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