cremation

noun
cre·​ma·​tion | \ kri-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce cremation (audio) \
plural cremations

Definition of cremation

1a : the process of reducing a dead body to mostly tiny bits of bone resembling ash that involves exposing the body to flame and intense heat followed by pulverization of bone fragments And while I do not conceive of an afterlife, I do conceive a strange, attenuated, out-of-the-body experience in which I'm somehow tenuously present at my burial or cremation.— Rosemary Dinnage … funeral directors say family traditions are changing, leading to an increase in cremation rates.— Matthew Waite This week the Vatican issued a directive not to scatter the ashes of loved ones after cremation, and instructed followers to only store them in places approved by the Church.— Mandy Johnston
b : alkaline hydrolysis usually used following an adjective or an attributive nounThe reason why flameless cremation or cremation using alkaline hydrolysis is better is that it releases 50 kgs of carbon. If you opt for the traditional method of cremation, close to 250 kgs of carbon is released at one time.— Vishal SharmaIn a water cremation, human remains are placed within a chamber filled with about 70 to 90 gallons of water, into which bases like sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are added.— Bennet Goldstein
2 : the remains of the cremation process In Besik Bay, the sandy cove facing the island of Tenedos in the Aegean, a cemetery was found where a variety of foreign peoples were buried … . Included were cremations from the thirteenth century B.C.— Caroline Alexander

First Known Use of cremation

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cremation

borrowed from Latin cremātiōn-, cremātiō "a burning," from cremāre "to destroy by fire, burn as an offering to a god, cremate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cremation

Time Traveler for cremation

Time Traveler

The first known use of cremation was in 1658

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cremation

Cite this Entry

“Cremation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cremation. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cremation

cremation

cre·​ma·​tion | \ kri-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce cremation (audio) \

Medical Definition of cremation

1a : the process of reducing a dead body to mostly tiny bits of bone resembling ash that involves exposing the body to flame and intense heat followed by pulverization of bone fragments
b : alkaline hydrolysis usually used following an adjective or nounThe reason why flameless cremation or cremation using alkaline hydrolysis is better; is that it releases 50 kgs of carbon. If you opt for the traditional method of cremation, close to 250 kgs of carbon is released at one time.— Vishal SharmaIn a water cremation, human remains are placed within a chamber filled with about 70 to 90 gallons of water, into which bases like sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are added.— Bennet Goldstein
2 : the remains of the cremation process

More from Merriam-Webster on cremation

Spanish Central: Translation of cremation

Nglish: Translation of cremation for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cremation

What made you want to look up cremation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!