em·​balm | \ im-ˈbä(l)m How to pronounce embalm (audio) , em- \
embalmed; embalming; embalms

Definition of embalm

transitive verb

1 : to treat (a dead body) so as to protect from decay
2 : to fill with sweet odors : perfume
3 : to protect from decay or oblivion : preserve embalm a hero's memory
4 : to fix in a static condition

Other Words from embalm

embalmer noun
embalmment \ im-​ˈbä(l)m-​mənt How to pronounce embalm (audio) , em-​ \ noun

Examples of embalm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Why had there been a seeming rush to embalm the body, without an autopsy? Washington Post, 7 Dec. 2021 There was this outlaw who died in a shootout with police, and no one came to collect the body, so the guy at the funeral home decided to embalm him and charge admission to see him. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, 6 Aug. 2021 Ever the enigma, while her choice to embalm may be traditional, her last look will be anything but. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, 29 July 2021 But Almereyda, never one to embalm unconventional minds in conventional storytelling, has no interest in a mere recitation of his subject’s accomplishments. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 24 Aug. 2020 Used to embalm and preserve bodies in morgues, some butchers use formalin to keep meat from going off. Julien Chongwang, Quartz Africa, 7 July 2020 None of the bodies had been refrigerated or embalmed. USA TODAY, 17 Feb. 2020 At any one time, another few are being embalmed in the preparation room, and half a dozen others sit in what used to be a resting room for families during services. Tik Root, Time, 1 May 2020 Once in the funeral home’s possession, the body will either be embalmed for burial or moved to cold storage to await cremation. Victor Llorente, Popular Mechanics, 24 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embalm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of embalm

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for embalm

Middle English embaumen, from Anglo-French enbaumer, enbasmer, from en- + basme balm — more at balm

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Time Traveler for embalm

Time Traveler

The first known use of embalm was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

16 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embalm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embalm. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for embalm



English Language Learners Definition of embalm

: to treat (a dead body) with special chemicals to keep it from decaying


em·​balm | \ im-ˈbäm How to pronounce embalm (audio) , -ˈbälm \
embalmed; embalming

Kids Definition of embalm

: to treat a dead body so as to preserve it from decay

Other Words from embalm

embalmer noun


transitive verb
em·​balm | \ im-ˈbä(l)m, New England also -ˈbȧm \

Medical Definition of embalm

: to treat (a dead body) so as to protect from decay

Other Words from embalm

embalmer noun
embalmment \ -​ˈbä(l)m-​mənt How to pronounce embalm (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on embalm

Nglish: Translation of embalm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embalm for Arabic Speakers


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