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noun, plural mor·tu·ar·ies.
  1. funeral home.
  2. a customary gift formerly claimed by and due to the incumbent of a parish in England from the estate of a deceased parishioner.
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  1. of or relating to the burial of the dead.
  2. pertaining to or connected with death.
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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 formspre·mor·tu·ar·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for mortuary


noun plural -aries
  1. Also called: morgue a building where dead bodies are kept before cremation or burial
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  1. of or relating to death or burial
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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

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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mortuary in Medicine


  1. A place, especially a funeral home, where dead bodies are kept before burial or cremation.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.