Do you know where the word embalmed came from, like the phrase? We have a research assignment, and we can use any source, and I'm stuck finding that origin. Thank You
It's ultimately from "balsam" (which probably goes back to the Hebrew word basham). The idea is that balms were made from balsamic resins and that balms were used to preserve (and cover-up odors), thus to embalm.
Lewis Joplin II
EMBALM - "v. About 1386 'enbawmen' to treat (a corpse) with spices to prevent decay; later 'enbalmen' (1447); borrowed from Old French 'embaumer' (em-1 + 'baume' + balm + - 'er' verbal suffix). The spelling with 1 became fixed in the 1500s in imitation of Latin 'balsamum' balm and parallel to English 'balm.'...""The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995).

"It was a lovely funeral is an American expression possible only since the 1860s, when 'embalming,' the fancy 'casket' for the common man, and the 'funeral wreath,' then usually dyed black, all came into vogue. Embalming was popularized by Thomas Holmes, 'the father of American embalming,' who is reputed to have made a fortune embalming soldiers killed in the Civil War..." From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).

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