verb (used with object), cre·mat·ed, cre·mat·ing.

to reduce (a dead body) to ashes by fire, especially as a funeral rite.
to consume by fire; burn.

Origin of cremate

1870–75; < Latin cremātus past participle of cremāre to burn to ashes; see -ate1
Related formscre·ma·tion [kri-mey-shuh n] /krɪˈmeɪ ʃən/, nounun·cre·mat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cremation

incineration, pyre

Examples from the Web for cremation

Contemporary Examples of cremation

Historical Examples of cremation

  • For an instant Azuba stared, white-faced, at the cremation of the bonnet.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • In Siam cremation is the general way of disposing of the dead.

    Travels in the Far East

    Ellen Mary Hayes Peck

  • It is but seldom that a cremation is not in progress at the burning ghat.

    East of Suez

    Frederic Courtland Penfield

  • It avoids even the fumes that are given off in cremation of the dead.

    The Critic in the Orient

    George Hamlin Fitch

  • The cremation, my dear, has nothing in truth to do with the Fixed Period.

    The Fixed Period

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for cremation



(tr) to burn up (something, esp a corpse) and reduce to ash
Derived Formscremation, nouncremationism, nouncremationist, noun

Word Origin for cremate

C19: from Latin cremāre
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 cremation

1620s, from Latin cremationem (nominative crematio), noun of action from past participle stem of cremare "to burn, consume by fire" (also used of the dead), from PIE *krem-, extended form of root *ker- "heat, fire" (see carbon).



1874, a back-formation from cremation. Related: Cremated; cremating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper