Glossary Of Terms
Arrangement Room: The room where the Funeral Consultant, and the deceased’s family, meet to discuss the wishes and prepare a contract for the funeral.
Autopsy: Medical procedure used to determine the cause of death.
Bereaved: The immediate family of the deceased – someone who is suffering a loss.
Bier: Pronounced ‘beer’ – A fixed stand on which a coffin or casket is placed for a viewing before burial.
Burial: Placing a casket or coffin in a grave, also called interment.
Casket: A rectangular container for encasing the deceased. A casket can be made a variety of materials including of custom wood, solid wood, metals.
Chapel: A room at the funeral home where services are held.
Coffin: A body shaped container for encasing the deceased – usually constructed of custom wood and solid wood.
Columbarium: A memorial structure where cremated remains in urns are placed. This may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.
Commital Service: A funeral service taking place at cemetery or crematory.
Coroner: A government official whose duty it is to investigate the cause of death if it appears to be of anything other than a natural cause.
Cortege: The procession of cars led by the hearse.
Cremated Remains: The remains of a human body after a cremation comprised of ash and bone fragments.
Cremation: Reduction of human remains by intense fire to ashes and fragments.
Cremator: The furnace used for the cremation process.
Crypt: Space in a mausoleum or an above ground chamber used for keeping deceased remains.
Death Certificate: A legal paper signed by a medical professional or a coroner certifying the cause of death.
Deceased: A person who has, in all physical life, ceased.
Embalm: The chemical process to preserve a body, the growth of microorganisms and restore an acceptable physical appearance. Embalming allows the preservation of the body and the funeral to be held several days after a death has occurred by keeping the deceased in a viewable state.
Embalmer: A licensed and trained professional in the surgical procedure of preserving deceased human bodies by the injection or application of preservatives and antiseptics.
Entombment: The placement of human remains in a crypt.
Exhume: To expose what was formally buried.
Floral Tribute: Flowers that are often sent to a funeral home or the cemetery and put on display for the deceased’s loved ones.
Pre-paid Funeral Plan: An individual pre-paying for their funeral arrangements prior to death occurring, this includes their wishes for the service.
Funeral Arrangements: Making preparations and decisions associated with a funeral service.
Funeral Director: A trained and licensed professional who provides support to the bereaved during the initial stages of their grief. They arrange and direct the funeral ceremony, the removal of the deceased from place of death, prepares the body according to the wishes of the funeral plan or family, secures information for legal documentation and files for the death certificate.
Funeral Service: The ceremony conducted immediately before the disposition of the deceased.
Grave: An excavation in the earth for the purpose of burying the dead – this is where the coffin or casket is placed.
Headstone: Typically made of granite, headstones can take on a variety of forms. They are above ground marker that identifies the occupant of a particular grave. Typically they are engraved with the names of the deceased and dates of birth and death. They can be customised to the families liking.
Hearse: A specially designed vehicle provided by the funeral home to transport the casket or coffin from the church or funeral chapel to the cemetery or crematorium.
Interment: The placement of the deceased in a grave.
Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains in an urn.
Mausoleum: Either a public or private building with crypts for the entombments of casketed remains or cremated remains.
Memorial Book: A book that is available to guests to record those who attended the funeral service that is handed to the family upon completion of the ceremony.
Memorial Service: A service, held without the body present, that commemorates the life of the deceased.
Mortuary: The building used for the purposes of safe-keeping and embalming.
Mourning Coach: A car assigned for the immediate family which follows the hearse in the funeral procession.
Niche: A compartment, usually in a wall or structure, in a columbarium or mausoleum which holds cremated remains.
Obituary: A notice of death that is usually placed in the newspaper. This usually contains biographical details and information about funeral or memorial services – some funeral services public obituaries on their websites.
Plot: An area of cemetery land that is used for the interment of human remains. The term includes and applies to one, or more than one, adjoining grave or space.
Pre-arranged funerals: The process of working with a funeral director to plan one’s funeral in advance of death. This process includes selecting the type of funeral service or memorial service, methods of disposition, funeral merchandise, plot location, songs, casket bearers, etc. A Pre-arranged funeral differs from a pre-paid funeral as a pre-arranged funeral does not require payment while planning.
Remains: A person’s body after death.
Selection Room: A room in the funeral home where coffins, caskets, urns and other related items are displayed to allow individuals or families to select for purchase while planning a funeral or memorial service.
Urn: A container designed to hold cremated remains.
Vault: A permanent outside container of grade better than a grave liner or concrete box, which is sealed, and affords protection to the casket.
Viewing: A gathering held with the deceased’s body present. This is a time for family and friends to express their condolences and support to one another. May also be called calling hours.
Vigil: A Roman Catholic religious service held on the eve of a funeral service that usually includes the recitation of the Rosary.