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This week's theme: Lesser-known counterparts of common words

inhume (in-HYOOM) verb tr.

To bury.

[From Latin inhumare (to bury), from in- (in) + humus (earth). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dhghem- (earth) that also sprouted human, homicide, homage, chameleon, chamomile, and Persian zamindar (landholder).]

Would someone who inhumes be called inhuman? Only if trying to hide the result of a homicide. A quick search of news articles shows that people exhume things 60 times as often as inhuming. And what do they exhume? Dead bodies, of course. We can't exhume anything more often than we inhume. It's just that the exhuming makes more news.

"NAACP officials staged a rather bizarre funeral this week in Detroit. They buried a word. With thousands of eager onlookers cheering the cause, the civil-rights organization symbolically inhumed the N-word."
James Ragland; Funeral is Not Enough to Put N-word to Rest; Dallas Morning News; Jul 14, 2007.

See more usage examples of inhume in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal. -Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and author (1900-1980)


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