[ em-bahm ]
See synonyms for: embalmembalmingembalmer on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to treat (a dead body) so as to preserve it, as with chemicals, drugs, or balsams.

  2. to preserve from oblivion; keep in memory: his deeds embalmed in the hearts of his disciples.

  1. to cause to remain unchanged; prevent the development of.

  2. 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)smebalm

Other words from embalm

  • em·balm·er, noun
  • em·balm·ment, noun
  • un·em·balmed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use embalm in a sentence

  • The sheet they left me kept off no drafts, and I felt like a corpse ready for the embalmer, and likely appeared one.

    Cue for Quiet | Thomas L. Sherred
  • 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
  • If I'd had to listen to any more of his talking or singing, either the embalmer or the lunatic-asylum would have had me, sure!

    Seventeen | Booth Tarkington
  • Upon entering the apartment, which was some twenty feet square, they found that the embalmer had not exaggerated what he had done.

    The Cat of Bubastes | G. A. Henty

British Dictionary definitions for embalm


/ (ɪmˈbɑːm) /

  1. to treat (a dead body) with preservatives, as by injecting formaldehyde into the blood vessels, to retard putrefaction

  2. to preserve or cherish the memory of

  1. poetic to give a sweet fragrance to

Origin of embalm

C13: from Old French embaumer; see balm

Derived forms of embalm

  • embalmer, noun
  • embalmment, 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