Glossary Of Terms
Arrangement Room: The room where the Funeral Consultant, and the deceased’s family, make arrangements for the funeral.
Autopsy: Medical procedure used to determine the cause of death.
Bereaved: Someone who is experiencing bereavement.
Bereavement: Experiencing grief due to experiencing a loss.
Bier: (Pronounced “beer”).A fixed stand on which a coffin/casket is placed for a viewing. Sometimes a mattress is placed on the bier and the person is viewed as if lying in bed.
Burial: Placing a casket or coffin in a grave (also called interment).
Casket: A rectangular container for holding the body of the deceased. A casket can be made of wood or metal.
Casket/Coffin Flowers: A collection of flowers placed on top of coffin/casket for the funeral service.
Catafalque: A platform sometimes used in funerals on which the coffin/casket stands.
Chapel: A room at the funeral company premises where services are held.
Coffin: A body shaped container for holding the body of the deceased – usually constructed of wood.
Columbarium: A structure with niches (small spaces) for placement of cremated remains in urn containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.
Commital Service: The last part of the funeral service that deals with interring or burying the deceased’s body.
Coroner: A government official who may be required to perform an autopsy.
Cortege: The procession of cars led by the hearse which travels from the funeral service to the place of interment.
Cremated Remains: The remains of the body after a cremation.
Cremations: Reduction of the body by fire to ashes and fragments.
Cremator: A furnace used for the cremation process.
Crypt: An above-ground chamber used for the keeping of remains.
Death Certificate: A legal paper signed by the attending physician showing the cause of death.
Deceased: A person who has departed from life.
Embalm: This process preserves a dead body to delay decomposition, enables the body to be presented for viewing and prevents transfer of infections.
Embalmer: Person who embalms.
Entombment: Burial in a mausoleum.
Exhume: To take out of a grave or tomb.
Floral Tribute: Flowers on display at funeral sent out of respect to the deceased by family and friends.
Fully Paid Funeral Plan: Where an individual decides to pre-pay for his/her funeral arrangements prior to death occurring.
Funeral Arrangements: Making the preparations and decisions associated with the funeral.
Funeral Director: The professional who supervises and/or prepares the final disposition and oversees funeral preparations.
Funeral Service: The ceremony conducted immediately before the interment or committal service.
Grave: The space in the earth in a cemetery where the coffin/casket will be placed with the remains of the deceased.
Headstone: An above ground marker that identifies the occupant of a particular grave.
Hearse: The vehicle that carries the casket/coffin from the church or funeral chapel to the cemetery or crematorium.
Interment: Burial in the ground or entombment.
Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains in an urn.
Mausoleum: An above ground building built and designed to receive entombments.
Memorial Book: A book that is available to record names of those who attend the funeral services.
Memorial Service: A service conducted in memory of the deceased without the presence of the remains.
Mortuary: The building used for safe-keeping and embalming of the body of the deceased.
Mourner: A person who attends the funeral out of respect for the family.
Mourning Coach: A car assigned for the immediate family which follows the hearse in the funeral procession.
Niche: A compartment, usually in a wall, in a columbarium or mausoleum which holds cremated remains of the deceased.
Obituary: A notice of death that is usually placed in the newspaper.
Plot: An area of cemetery land that is usually reserved for two or more burials.
Pre-need Arrangements: When funeral arrangements are completed prior to a person’s death.
Remains: The body of the deceased.
Selection Room: A room which holds coffins and caskets for display purposes to allow the family a choice for the deceased.
Urn: A container for the cremated remains of the deceased.
Vault: A grave liner that completely encloses the casket.
Viewing: A time set aside for mourners to visit the deceased in an open coffin to pay final respects.
Vigil: A Roman Catholic service held on the evening before a funeral service.