Cemetery vs. Cemetary: Which is Correct?

In most authoritative pieces of writing, you’ll find the spelling as ‘cemetery.’ But it won’t be wrong to say that we have also seen the word spelled as “cemetary” on signposts and online. So, how to spell cemetery? Is it with an E or an A as the last vowel? If you have paused on this word while writing, this article will help you spell the word correctly.

Cemetery vs. Cemetary — Which is Correct?

‘Cemetery’ is the correct and standardized spelling of the word, which means a ground for burial. While cemetary looks almost identical, it is an incorrect spelling and has no existence in the dictionary. ‘Cemetery’ is commonly misspelled as cemetary, cemetry, and more.

Origin of the word ‘Cemetery.’

The word ‘cemetery’ has undergone an orthographic transition from Greek to Latin to Anglo-French. It originated from Middle English cimiterie and Old French cimitiere (graveyard). This word was in turn from the Medieval Latin cimitērium and Late Latin coemētērium. And ultimately traced back to Greek koimētērion, meaning “sleeping chamber,” and the verb koiman, “to put to sleep.”

How to Spell Cemetery?

‘Cemetery’ is an 8-lettered word with 3 vowels and 5 consonants. The term is spelled as C-E-M-E-T-E-R-Y with 3 Es, which are the only vowels. This should make the spelling easier to remember.

It consists of 4 syllables, cem-e-ter-y, with the primary stress on the first syllable. The phonetic transcription in the dictionary is /ˈsɛmɪtri/. The pronunciation of the word may not help everyone with the spelling. But it’s important to know how the word is pronounced in different regions.

In American English, cemetery sounds like [seh·muh·teh·ree], while in the UK English, it is [seh·muh·tree].

The confusion with “Cemetery” is almost always in the last vowel. Spelling the first part “cemet-” is easy, but the ending is the cause of misspelling.

A quick tip to remember the spelling of cemetery is that it ends with the suffix “-ery,” not “-ary.”

A pink and white flower bouquet on a gray concrete tomb.
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Dictionary Definition Of Cemetery with Examples

‘Cemetery’ serves as a noun in the parts of speech based on the definition and use. It refers to a large burial area that contains graves, tombs, or funeral urns, particularly one that is not in a churchyard.

Example Sentences:

  • We will go to the cemetery in the morning.
  • The funeral service took place in the cemetery.
  • My cat was buried in the pet cemetery.
  • The soldiers are buried in the national cemetery.
  • The cemetery is not in good condition.
  • Are you free to go to the cemetery with me?

To Wrap Up

‘Cemetery’ is the correct spelling, and any other variation is just a misspelled word. This article discusses how to spell cemetery correctly with example sentences. Remember that ‘CEMETERY’ has only 3 vowels in it, and all 3 of them are Es. Hope it helps you spell the word correctly!

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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