Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Sep 11, 2019
This week’s theme
There’s an antonym for it

This week’s words
eustress
nullibiety
excarnation
dysphemism
nocebo

Tower of Silence
Tower of Silence, Yazd, Iran, where vultures perform excarnation
Photo: Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia

Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

excarnation

PRONUNCIATION:
(eks-kahr-NAY-shuhn)

MEANING:
noun:
1. The removing of flesh, especially from a corpse before burial.
2. The supposed separation of the soul from the body at death.

ETYMOLOGY:
From excarnate, from Latin excarnare (to remove flesh), from caro (flesh). Earliest documented use: 1847.

NOTES:
Examples:
• Excarnation takes place in a body farm in Texas State University in San Marcos. For science!
Stonehenge may have been constructed for excarnation.
• The Parsi (Zoroastrian) community in India is concerned about the lack of vultures needed for excarnation.

USAGE:
“I looked at Sam. ‘Why didn’t they bury people here? Would they just leave the body in a chamber? Wouldn’t animals get at them?’
She shook her head. ‘They didn’t bury them. They did excarnation. Afterward they’d arrange the bones in a grave.’”
Elizabeth Hand; Hard Light; Thomas Dunne Books; 2016.

“The move toward excarnation is apparent in what is becoming more and more a fleshless society. In medicine, ‘bedside manner’ and hand on pulse has ceded to the anonymous technologies of imaging in diagnosis and treatment.”
Richard Kearney; Losing Our Touch; The New York Times; Aug 30, 2014.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty. -Jessica Mitford, author, journalist, and civil rights activist (11 Sep 1917-1996)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2019 Wordsmith