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[em-bahm] /ɛmˈbɑm/
verb (used with object)
to treat (a dead body) so as to preserve it, as with chemicals, drugs, or balsams.
to preserve from oblivion; keep in memory:
his deeds embalmed in the hearts of his disciples.
to cause to remain unchanged; prevent the development of.
to impart a balmy fragrance to.
Origin of embalm
1300-50; Middle English embalmen, embaumen < Old French emba(u)smer, equivalent to em- em-1 + -ba(u)smer, verbal derivative of ba(u)sme balm
Related forms
embalmer, noun
embalmment, noun
unembalmed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for embalm


verb (transitive)
to treat (a dead body) with preservatives, as by injecting formaldehyde into the blood vessels, to retard putrefaction
to preserve or cherish the memory of
(poetic) to give a sweet fragrance to
Derived Forms
embalmer, noun
embalmment, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French embaumer; see balm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for embalm

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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embalm in Medicine

embalm em·balm (ěm-bäm')
v. em·balmed, em·balm·ing, em·balms
To treat a corpse with preservatives in order to prevent decay.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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