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[mawr-choo-er-ee] /ˈmɔr tʃuˌɛr i/
noun, plural mortuaries.
a customary gift formerly claimed by and due to the incumbent of a parish in England from the estate of a deceased parishioner.
of or relating to the burial of the dead.
pertaining to or connected with death.
Origin of mortuary
1350-1400; Middle English mortuarie < Medieval Latin mortuārium, noun use of neuter of Latin mortuārius of the dead, equivalent to mortu(us) dead + -ārius -ary
Related forms
premortuary, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mortuary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I've got to go to the trunk-room for her at this hour, and it next door to the mortuary!

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • A mortuary, a dissecting-chamber, or a pantomime property-room?

  • A reference to the mortuary tables removes all doubt on this point.

    Old Mackinaw W. P. Strickland.
  • This was received with acclaim, but many objected to the mortuary theory.

    The Re-echo Club Carolyn Wells
  • Vassily knew about the bags, and that was why the mortuary served his purposes.

British Dictionary definitions for mortuary


noun (pl) -aries
Also called morgue. a building where dead bodies are kept before cremation or burial
of or relating to death or burial
Word Origin
C14 (as n, a funeral gift to a parish priest): via Medieval Latin mortuārium (n) from Latin mortuārius of the dead
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 mortuary

early 14c., from Anglo-French mortuarie "gift to a parish priest from a deceased parishioner," from Medieval Latin mortuarium, noun use of neuter of Late Latin adjective mortuarius "pertaining to the dead," from Latin mortuus, past participle of mori "to die" (see mortal (adj.)). Meaning "place where bodies are kept temporarily" first recorded 1865, a euphemism for earlier deadhouse.


1510s, "pertaining to death," from Late Latin mortuarius "of the dead," from Latin mortuus "dead" (see mortuary (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mortuary in Medicine

mortuary mor·tu·ar·y (môr'chōō-ěr'ē)
A place, especially a funeral home, where dead bodies are kept before burial or cremation.

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