follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

Grateful Dead

San Francisco rock band, 1965, the name taken, according to founder Jerry Garcia, from a dictionary entry he saw about the folk tale motif of a wanderer who gives his last penny to pay for a corpse's burial, then is magically aided by the spirit of the dead person. A different version of the concept is found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for grateful dead

in folktales of many cultures, the spirit of a deceased person who bestows benefits on the one responsible for his burial. In the prototypical story, the protagonist is a traveler who encounters the corpse of a debtor, to whom the honour of proper burial has been denied. After the traveler satisfies the debt, or, in some versions, pays for the burial, he goes on his way. In another version of the story, burial is prescribed for religious reasons but prohibited by civil authorities. It is this version that forms the theme of the apocryphal Book of Tobit in the Old Testament.

Learn more about grateful dead with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for grateful

12
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for grateful dead