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verb (used with object), mum·mi·fied, mum·mi·fy·ing.
  1. to make (a dead body) into a mummy, as by embalming and drying.
  2. to make (something) resemble a mummy; dry or shrivel up: The dead lizard was mummified by the hot desert air.
  3. to preserve (an idea, institution, custom, etc.) that may have outlived its usefulness or relevance: Those mummified customs have no place in society today.
verb (used without object), mum·mi·fied, mum·mi·fy·ing.
  1. to dry or shrivel up.

Origin of mummify

First recorded in 1620–30; mummy1 + -fy
Related formsmum·mi·fi·ca·tion, nounhalf-mum·mi·fied, adjectiveun·mum·mi·fied, adjectiveun·mum·mi·fy·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mummification

Historical Examples

  • Professor Garstang did not recognize that mummification had been attempted.

    The Evolution of the Dragon

    G. Elliot Smith

  • Mummification was, as has been said, probably an invention of the Osirian cult.

  • His skin was dark though its color might have been affected by mummification.

    The Record of Currupira

    Robert Abernathy

  • The custom of mummification arose in Egypt, and promoted the study of anatomy.

  • A sort of mummification prevailed amongst the Maories until Christianity had gained ground amongst them.

British Dictionary definitions for mummification


verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (tr) to preserve the body of (a human or animal) as a mummy
  2. (intr) to dry up; shrivel
  3. (tr) to preserve (an outdated idea, institution, etc) while making lifeless
Derived Formsmummification, noun
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

Word Origin and History for mummification


1800, from mummy + -fication.



1620s, from French momifier, from momie "mummy," from Medieval Latin mumia (see mummy) + -fier "to make into" (see -fy). Related: Mummified; mummifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mummification in Medicine


  1. The shrivelling of a dead and retained fetus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.