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Lookups spiked 80,000% on July 30, 2020
Coverage of the service for John Lewis, the recently deceased Representative from Georgia and civil rights icon, has sent lookups spiking for funeralize.
“And what is even more offensive, because those of us in the civil rights community that have known him are not surprised by it, but what is so blatantly despicable, Joe, is he does it on the period of time we’re mourning John Lewis, who will be funeralized today,” he said.
— Tommy Christopher, Mediaite, 30 Jul. 2020
We define funeralize as “to hold a funeral or memorial service for.” Some appear to have questions about the probity and legitimacy of this word; it is every bit as much of a word as funeral. We label it dialectal, which is not a fancy lexicographic way of saying ‘this is not really a word’; it is our label indicating that the pattern of use of a word or sense is too complex for summary labeling. Dialectal may include several regional varieties of American English or of American and British English.
A now obsolete sense of funeralize may be found in the 17th century, meaning “to make sad.”
Prince Oleandro, it transfixes my soule, that the first day in which I have had the fortune to reverence you should be funeralized with things most molestfull to him who is to execute them, and with sorrow to him that commands them.
— Giovanni Francesco Loredano, Dianea, 1654
The modern funeral sense appears in the first half of the 19th century.
Her burial was funeralized by Rev. H. Woodward, from Heb. iv: 9. There remaineth therefore, a rest to the people of God.
— The Biblical Recorder (Raleigh, NC), 18 Sept. 1841
Beginning in the early 20th century funeralize lexical evidence may be found with increasing frequency in Black American newspapers.
William H. Coger of Milnor street, who died suddenly from heart disease, was funeralized Wednesday by Father Bennett at Tucker’s funeral parlors.
— Chicago Defender, 26 May 1917
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.