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embalm

[em-bahm] /ɛmˈbɑm/
verb (used with object)
1.
to treat (a dead body) so as to preserve it, as with chemicals, drugs, or balsams.
2.
to preserve from oblivion; keep in memory:
his deeds embalmed in the hearts of his disciples.
3.
to cause to remain unchanged; prevent the development of.
4.
to impart a balmy fragrance to.
Origin
1300-1350
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for embalming
  • Others referred to cadavers used in an embalming lab in a way that upset the families of anatomy-bequest donors.
  • From archaeologists determining cultural practices to chemists studying embalming, mummies have revealed libraries of information.
  • The brain is missing--apparently removed through the nose in what was a common embalming procedure.
  • In some places embalming services have been organized into collectives, on the model of food cooperatives.
  • Removing the blood out of the body and replacing it with embalming fluid to preserve the remains.
  • Afterwards, the liquid inside the egg is removed and mixed with an embalming fluid called formalin.
  • The whole makeup job is so embalming that it prevents expression, which is a crucial film disability.
  • Tut had been affixed to his coffin by resins used in the embalming process.
  • Results of a new study found no chemical signs of deliberate preservation, either by embalming or smoking.
  • These were simple to remove once they got soggy, explaining why similar bundles turn up in many embalming caches.
British Dictionary definitions for embalming

embalm

/ɪmˈbɑːm/
verb (transitive)
1.
to treat (a dead body) with preservatives, as by injecting formaldehyde into the blood vessels, to retard putrefaction
2.
to preserve or cherish the memory of
3.
(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 embalming

embalm

v.

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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embalming 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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embalming in the Bible

the process of preserving a body by means of aromatics (Gen. 50:2, 3, 26). This art was practised by the Egyptians from the earliest times, and there brought to great perfection. This custom probably originated in the belief in the future reunion of the soul with the body. The process became more and more complicated, and to such perfection was it carried that bodies embalmed thousands of years ago are preserved to the present day in the numberless mummies that have been discovered in Egypt. The embalming of Jacob and Joseph was according to the Egyptian custom, which was partially followed by the Jews (2 Chr. 16:14), as in the case of king Asa, and of our Lord (John 19:39, 40; Luke 23:56; 24:1). (See PHARAOH.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for embalming

the treatment of a dead body so as to sterilize it or to protect it from decay. For practical as well as theological reasons a well-preserved body has long been a chief mortuary concern. The ancient Greeks, who demanded endurance of their heroes in death as in life, expected the bodies of their dead to last without artificial aid during the days of mourning that preceded the final rites. Other societies, less demanding of their greats, developed a wide variety of preservatives and methods to stave off decay or minimize its effects. Corpses have been pickled in vinegar, wine, and stronger spirits: the body of the British admiral Lord Nelson was returned from Trafalgar to England in a cask of brandy. Even the Greeks sometimes made concessions: the body of Alexander the Great, for example, was returned from Babylon to Macedonia in a container of honey. The application of spices and perfumed unguents to minimize putrefaction was so common a practice that the English word embalming had as its original meaning "to put on balm." Generally, however, the word is used to describe a less superficial procedure, the introduction of agents into the body to ensure preservation.

Learn more about embalming with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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