Death and all things relating to it evoke a unique, primal reaction from all people. Superstition, religious beliefs, memories, and feelings of loss typically surface when the subject of death comes up in conversation.
Having a command of funereal words will allow you to discuss death in a manner appropriate for the situation. This is important when you or your acquaintances have suffered a loss.
Because death evokes strong emotions from most individuals, take great care in the selection of your words during difficult times. While euphemisms for dying such as ‘passed away’ or ‘no longer with us’ are quite helpful when discussing the departed, the subject of death is ultimately unavoidable.
Definition: A time of loss and sorrow caused by the loss of a loved one.
Example: During his period of bereavement, Bill’s daughters were a great comfort to him.
Connotation: This word applies to the official period of mourning during which a person is eligible for work leave due to a death in the family. It is otherwise considered formal and appropriate for a funeral setting or service.
Definition: Without life; dead; no longer living.
Example: We took a moment of silence in respect for the deceased soldier.
Connotation: This is a very common euphemism for the dead or ‘the departed.’ It is considered more appropriate to use a euphemism than to express that a person no longer living is in fact ‘dead.’
Definition: No longer able to move; lifeless.
Example: The student noticed that the mouse was now exanimate; the lethal dosage had killed the creature.
Connotation: This term is used in a police, medical, or scientific sense. It may be used to described how the deceased’s body was found.
Definition: Sad, gloomy, and depressed.
Example: The death of her husband contributed to her melancholy demeanor.
Connotation: This word suggests a prolonged state of sadness or depression.
Definition: The death of cells or tissues, specifically in one area of the body.
Example: Because the necrosis affected his arm, the doctor considered recommending amputation.
Connotation: ‘Necrosis’ is typically used in a medical or scientific setting.
Definition: Resting; without movement or sleeping; a peaceful stillness.
Example: His body displayed a great deal of repose in the casket; he looked at peace.
Connotation: This word is typically used in conjunction with the deceased and conveys a definite sense of peace and calm. It is a very sensitive and thoughtful word to use.
Using tactfully chosen vocabulary words will help you better understand, confront, and cope with the eventuality we all face.