"mortuary," 1821, from Fr. Morgue, originally a specific building in Paris where bodies were exposed for identification; originally the place where new prisoners were displayed to keepers to establish their identification. Probably from morgue "haughtiness," originally "a sad expression, solemn look," from O.Fr. morguer "look solemnly," from V.L. *murricare "to make a face, pout," from *murrum "muzzle, snout." Adopted as a general term in U.S., 1880s, replacing earlier dead house, etc. In newspaper slang, "collection of pre-written obituary material of living persons" (1903), hence "library of clips, photos, etc.," 1918.