"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
The common use of the word mortuary is as an alternative to morgue to describe a building or room (as in a hospital) used for the storage of human corpses awaiting identification, or removal for autopsy, burial, cremation or some other post-death ritual. They are usually refrigerated to avoid decomposition. The word also describes any licensed, regulated business that provides for the care, planning and preparation of human remains for their final resting place.
There is a however a far wider meaning of the word - of or relating to or characteristic of death or relating to the burial of the dead.
But if you come across the word in an old document it may well have referred to a gift made to the parish priest on the death of a parishioner - usually the second best animal. (The first animal had often gone to the Lord of the Manor as a heriot and the mortuary often wasn't made because there was no second animal!)
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
I'm a blogger - nowadays that seems to be my main occupation and Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. I enjoy all manner of communication apart from the telephone and am constantly e-mailing, texting, writing postcards and letters and commenting on other people's blogs.
Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer and my real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)