em·​balm | \im-ˈbä(l)m, 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, em-​ \ noun

Examples of embalm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In revealing the restoration process, Nouvel has managed to embalm the palazzo’s design past within its present use, and little else is required for the rooms to be, at least visually, luxurious. Noor Brara, Vogue, "With a New Hotel Overlooking Rome’s Ancient Wonders, the Fendi Family Hopes to Bring Creatives to the Eternal City," 28 Nov. 2018 University of York archaeologist Stephen Buckley and his colleagues identified embalming compounds in organic residues from the mummy’s linen wrappings. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient Egyptians had been making mummies longer than anyone thought," 16 Aug. 2018 Researchers weren’t sure if the lung had been embalmed somehow or naturally mummified. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "How a Copper Coin Mummified a Baby’s Hand," 26 May 2018 Eventually, Nectome wants to essentially embalm people with terminal ilnesses while they are sedated, but still alive, then freeze their bodies with brains inside. Andy Rosen, BostonGlobe.com, "Ready to upload your brain to a computer? MIT says not so fast," 6 Apr. 2018 Formalin contains formaldehyde, a colorless chemical that is typically used to embalm the dead. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Woman dies after being given formaldehyde instead of saline," 10 Apr. 2018 Delays in autopsies can have varying effects on the outcome, including in cases where the body had already been embalmed, as in Watts' case, Gilson said. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Cleveland man, 81, dies weeks after being beaten, stomped protecting wife from attacker," 4 Apr. 2018 The modern act of embalming, popularized during the American Civil War, is a physically violent one in which blood goes down the drain, untreated, after being pushed out by embalming fluid pumped through the vascular system. Hayley Campbell, WIRED, "A New Way to Dispose of Corpses—With Chemistry!," 27 Mar. 2018 For just $10,000, Nectome will embalm your brain, keeping it from decaying for centuries — maybe even a millennia — until its contents can be uploaded. Grace Donnelly, Fortune, "Nectome Wants to Preserve Your Brain for Decades, But the Process Will Kill You," 14 Mar. 2018

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

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for embalm

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

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English Language Learners Definition of embalm

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


em·​balm | \im-ˈbäm, -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 \ 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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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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