American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To treat (a corpse) with preservatives in order to prevent decay.
- v. To protect from change or oblivion; preserve or fix: "A precedent embalms a principle” ( Benjamin Disraeli).
- v. To impart fragrance to; perfume: Spicy aromas embalmed the air.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To dress or anoint with balm; specifically, to preserve from decay by means of balsams or other aromatic spices; keep from putrefaction by impregnating with spices, gums, and chemicals, as a dead body. The ancient process was to open the body, remove the viscera, and fill the cavities with antiseptic spices and drugs. (See
mummy.) In modern times many substances and methods have been employed in embalming, as by injection of arsenical preparations into the blood-vessels, generally with a view only to the preservation of the body for a certain period, as during transportation to a distant point, or instead of refrigeration in hot weather during the ordinary interval before burial.
- Hence To preserve from neglect or decay; preserve in memory.
- To impart fragrance to; fill with sweet scent.
- v. transitive To treat a corpse with preservatives in order to prevent decomposition
- v. transitive To perfume or add fragrance to something
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To anoint all over with balm; especially, to preserve from decay by means of balm or other aromatic oils, or spices; to fill or impregnate (a dead body), with aromatics and drugs that it may resist putrefaction.
- v. To fill or imbue with sweet odor; to perfume.
- v. To preserve from decay or oblivion as if with balm; to perpetuate in remembrance.
- v. preserve a dead body
- Middle English embaumen, from Old French embasmer : en-, in; see en-1 + basme, balm; see balm. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“With all the talk about health care reform, no one has yet to point a finger at the food industry which has created snacks and foods so full of preservatives and chemicals and sugars that you can self embalm before you die.”
“I was so rudely interrupted, the one thing only that can balm and embalm this savage breast is the ‘Maiden’s”
“Squeeze the blood out of the hand; embalm it in a shroud and steep it in a solution of saltpetre, salt and pepper for two weeks and then dry in the sun.”
“She can only embalm his cat and mouse in casein and mahogany, making his newspaper art both dreary and precious.”
“Maybe our kids should be going to mortuary college instead -- oh wait, we'll have computer-operated robots to embalm & bury the dead.”
“After deliberations involving Stalin and the head of the secret police, Felix Dzerzhinsky, who had organised the funeral, it had been decided to embalm Lenin rather than bury or cremate the body.”
“It all evokes the impermanence of memory and the capacity of photography not so much to capture the fleeting moment, but to embalm it.”
“It took the same amount of bottles of embalming fluids to embalm him as races that he won.”
“An undertaker came to the house to embalm him, and then he was to be taken to the cemetery.”
“Other assassination-related items on the auction block include medical instruments used to embalm Oswald; a signed Easter card Oswald sent his brother, Robert, who lives in Wichita Falls, Texas; a part of the limousine seat Kennedy was sitting in when shot; and a wire-service teletype from the day of the killing in Dallas.”
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