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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for embalmer
Historical Examples
  • The action of the air had already undone all the art of the embalmer.

  • I have already placed in the hands of Chigron, the embalmer, a large sum of money.

    The Cat of Bubastes G. A. Henty
  • A few minutes later the embalmer entered bringing them food.

    The Cat of Bubastes G. A. Henty
  • “I think, indeed, that that will be the best plan,” the embalmer agreed.

    The Cat of Bubastes G. A. Henty
  • You open the corpses, you go in and out of the house of the embalmer.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • "He has gone to his work in the house of the embalmer," was the answer.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
  • The face (which had been left by the embalmer exposed) confronted mine.

    Theodore Watts-Dunton James Douglas
  • On examination it was found that the work of the embalmer had been most thorough.

    The Comstock Club Charles Carroll Goodwin
  • They were given to us by an embalmer of the dead who had found them in a tomb.

    Miscellanies Oscar Wilde
  • Babies with lintels, grains of corn or shoe-buttons up their noses, purple in the face and waiting for the doctor or the embalmer.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
British Dictionary definitions for embalmer


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 embalmer



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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embalmer 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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