Acronym for Uniform Resource Name. Like an URL, an URN is a short, unique string used to identify a resource on the Internet. Unlike an URL, an URN does not necessarily specify a particular location for a resource; an external mechanism resolves the URN to a location for accessing the resource. Thus, theoretically, a link to an URN will survive any relocation of the named resource and avoid the all-too-common 404 errors encountered on the Web today.

IETF documents defining aspects of URNs include RFC 2141 ("URN Syntax"), RFC 2169 ("A Trivial Convention for using HTTP in URN Resolution"), RFC 2483 ("URI Resolution Services Necessary for URN Resolution"), and RFC 2611 ("URN Namespace Definition Mechanisms").

See also: URI.

Urn (?), n. [OE. urne, L. urna; perhaps fr. urere to burn, and sop called as being made of burnt clay (cf. East): cf. F. urne.]


A vessel of various forms, usually a vase furnished with a foot or pedestal, employed for different purposes, as for holding liquids, for ornamental uses, for preserving the ashes of the dead after cremation, and anciently for holding lots to be drawn.

A rustic, digging in the ground by Padua, found an urn, or earthen pot, in which there was another urn. Bp. Wilkins.

His scattered limbs with my dead body burn, And once more join us in the pious urn. Dryden.


Fig.: Any place of burial; the grave.

Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn, Tombless, with no remembrance over them. Shak.

3. Rom. Antiq.

A measure of capacity for liquids, containing about three gallons and a haft, wine measure. It was haft the amphora, and four times the congius.

4. Bot.

A hollow body shaped like an urn, in which the spores of mosses are contained; a spore case; a theca.


A tea urn. See under Tea.

Urn mosses Bot., the order of true mosses; -- so called because the capsules of many kinds are urn-shaped.


© Webster 1913.

Urn, v. t.

To inclose in, or as in, an urn; to inurn.

When horror universal shall descend, And heaven's dark concave urn all human race. Young.


© Webster 1913.

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