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

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Other Words from embalm

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

Examples of embalm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In a 2016 summary of violations at Eternal Hills that went back for years, inspectors noted that bodies were embalmed without proper authorization and the operator could not provide required paperwork when state regulators requested it. oregonlive, "State inspections of funeral homes fall short in Oregon," 15 Sep. 2019 Bodies are required to be refrigerated under state law if they aren't embalmed or cremated within 24 hours. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Phoenix funeral home may face discipline after keeping bodies more than 100 days and charging 'excessive' burial fees," 21 Aug. 2019 Enter Nectome, a start-up that pledges to embalm the living brains of terminally ill people, in the hope that they can be revived at some future date. David Scharfenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Innovation of the Week: Upload your mind," 30 Mar. 2018 The 500-year-old mummies were perfectly preserved without embalming agents. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "If Algae Clings to Snow on This Volcano, Can It Grow on Other Desolate Worlds?," 15 July 2019 Ray McCready, the Mooresville undertaker who embalmed Dillinger’s body sharply criticized the Chicago coroner’s office of mutilating the corpse. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "John Dillinger's last meal included red peppers. What we know about the outlaw's autopsy and burial.," 2 Aug. 2019 Modern burial typically involves chemically embalming bodies and burying them inside sturdy coffins surrounded by concrete. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "‘Everything is biodegradable, including you.’ A Catholic cemetery in Mendota Heights offers green burial.," 20 July 2019 In Arizona, a body must be embalmed or refrigerated (38 degrees or below) 24 hours after death occurs, officials with the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers say. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "5 things you need to know before donating your body to science," 10 June 2019 But without refrigeration, the body must be embalmed, buried or cremated within three days. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "‘Everything is biodegradable, including you.’ A Catholic cemetery in Mendota Heights offers green burial.," 20 July 2019

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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Statistics for embalm

Last Updated

1 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for embalm

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

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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
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 embalmment (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on embalm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with embalm

Spanish Central: Translation of embalm

Nglish: Translation of embalm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embalm for Arabic Speakers

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