Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

morgue

[mawrg]
See more synonyms for morgue on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a place in which bodies are kept, especially the bodies of victims of violence or accidents, pending identification or burial.
  2. a reference file of old clippings, mats, books, etc., in a newspaper office.
  3. the room containing such a reference file.
  4. any place, as a room or file, where records, information, or objects are kept for unexpected but possible future use.
  5. such records, information, or objects.
Show More

Origin of morgue

1815–25; < French; name of building in Paris housing unidentified dead bodies
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for morgue

crematory

Examples from the Web for morgue

Contemporary Examples of morgue

Historical Examples of morgue


British Dictionary definitions for morgue

morgue

1
noun
  1. another word for mortuary (def. 1)
  2. informal a room or file containing clippings, files, etc, used for reference in a newspaper
Show More

Word Origin for morgue

C19: from French la Morgue, a Paris mortuary

morgue

2
noun
  1. superiority; haughtiness
Show More
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 morgue

n.

"mortuary," 1821, from French Morgue, originally a specific building in Paris where bodies were exposed for identification:

There is, in the most populous part of the French metropolis, an establishment entitled La Morgue, destined for the reception and exposition of bodies drowned in the Seine, and caught in nets, which are placed in different parts of the river for that purpose. The object of this exposition is, that the deceased may be recognised by their friends or relatives, and receive the rights of sepulture accordingly. The Morgue is open at all hours of the day, to passengers of every description, and often displays at a time, five or six horrible carcasses stretched, without covering, on an inclined platform, and subjected to the promiscuous gaze of the mob. ["American Review," January 1811]

Before that it was the place where new prisoners were displayed to keepers to establish their identification. Thus the name is believed to be probably from French morgue "haughtiness," originally "a sad expression, solemn look," from Old French morguer "look solemnly," from Vulgar Latin *murricare "to make a face, pout," from *murrum "muzzle, snout." The 1768 Dictionnaire Royal François-Anglois Et Anglois-François defines French morgue both as "A proud, big, haughty or stately look, stare, surliness, or surly look" and "A little gratel room wherein a new prisoner is set, and must continue some hours, that the Jailer's ordinary servants may the better take notice of his face."

Adopted as a general term in U.S., 1880s, replacing earlier dead house, etc. In newspaper slang, "collection of pre-written obituary material of living persons" (1903), hence "library of clips, photos, etc.," 1918.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

morgue in Medicine

morgue

(môrg)
n.
  1. A place in which dead bodies are temporarily kept until identified and claimed or until arrangements for burial have been made.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.