9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mawrg] /mɔrg/
a place in which bodies are kept, especially the bodies of victims of violence or accidents, pending identification or burial.
a reference file of old clippings, mats, books, etc., in a newspaper office.
the room containing such a reference file.
any place, as a room or file, where records, information, or objects are kept for unexpected but possible future use.
such records, information, or objects.
Origin of morgue
1815-25; < French; name of building in Paris housing unidentified dead bodies Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for morgue
  • Police came and took her gently aside and told her they would try to find the name of the morgue.
  • Today he picked up her mangled body from the city morgue.
  • Relief workers carried corpses to an ice rink that had been converted into a morgue.
  • The concrete floor, tile walls, and big sink gave the place the ambience of a morgue.
  • It seems that every time you lie down for a quick nap, you wake up on a slab in the morgue.
  • If you're looking for something to decorate your mad science lab or morgue, this is the place to buy it.
  • Freeman, the laboratory director at a mental hospital, spent many late nights bent over the dissecting table at the morgue.
  • After, being embalmed at the morgue, he was buried in the local cemetery.
  • If you were working in the morgue on a body, you had to complete it, no matter if it took you till six o'clock.
  • Rose was interrupted by cheers from a nearby garage: the morgue truck, making its final run.
British Dictionary definitions for morgue


another word for mortuary (sense 1)
(informal) a room or file containing clippings, files, etc, used for reference in a newspaper
Word Origin
C19: from French la Morgue, a Paris mortuary


superiority; haughtiness
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 morgue

"mortuary," 1821, from French Morgue, originally a specific building in Paris where bodies were exposed for identification:

There is, in the most populous part of the French metropolis, an establishment entitled La Morgue, destined for the reception and exposition of bodies drowned in the Seine, and caught in nets, which are placed in different parts of the river for that purpose. The object of this exposition is, that the deceased may be recognised by their friends or relatives, and receive the rights of sepulture accordingly. The Morgue is open at all hours of the day, to passengers of every description, and often displays at a time, five or six horrible carcasses stretched, without covering, on an inclined platform, and subjected to the promiscuous gaze of the mob. ["American Review," January 1811]
Before that it was the place where new prisoners were displayed to keepers to establish their identification. Thus the name is believed to be probably from French morgue "haughtiness," originally "a sad expression, solemn look," from Old French morguer "look solemnly," from Vulgar Latin *murricare "to make a face, pout," from *murrum "muzzle, snout." The 1768 Dictionnaire Royal François-Anglois Et Anglois-François defines French morgue both as "A proud, big, haughty or stately look, stare, surliness, or surly look" and "A little gratel room wherein a new prisoner is set, and must continue some hours, that the Jailer's ordinary servants may the better take notice of his face."

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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morgue in Medicine

morgue (môrg)
A place in which dead bodies are temporarily kept until identified and claimed or until arrangements for burial have been made.

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