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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Embalm

  EMBALM   verb, intransitive
To cheat vegetation by locking up the gases upon which it feeds.  By embalming their dead and thereby deranging the natural balance between animal and vegetable life, the Egyptians made their once fertile and populous country barren and incapable of supporting more than a meagre crew.  The modern metallic burial casket is a step in the same direction, and many a dead man who ought now to be ornamenting his neighbor's lawn as a tree, or enriching his table as a bunch of radishes, is doomed to a long inutility.  We shall get him after awhile if we are spared, but in the meantime the violet and rose are languishing for a nibble at his glutoeus maximus.

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911

Regular definition:
?m?b?:m v.tr. 1 preserve (a corpse) from decay orig. with spices, now by means of arterial injection. 2 preserve from oblivion. 3 endue with balmy fragrance. °°embalmer n. embalmment n. [ME f. OF embaumer (as EN-(1), BALM)]

Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30