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mid-14c., from Middle French embaumer "preserve (a corpse) with spices," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + baume "balm" (see balm) + -er verbal suffix. The -l- inserted in English 1500s in imitation of Latin. Related: Embalmed; embalming.
embalm em·balm (ěm-bäm')v. em·balmed, em·balm·ing, em·balms To treat a corpse with preservatives in order to prevent decay.