corpse . Lifeless body of a person or an animal .


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  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 The Romans
  • 3 Etymologies Book XX
  • 4 Sources


The word corpse comes from the Latin ” cadavere “, related to the verb cadere , “to fall”, and means “fallen”, “mortal”. Curiously, in other languages, the word also derives from cadavere (kadaver in German and Dutch ), but mainly to indicate the body of a dead animal, while in Spanish it is generally the body of a person.

The Romans

the Romans wrote in their graves the inscription caro da ta ver mibus , which means “Flesh given to the worms”. This expression would have derived in the acronym ca-da-ver.

Some do not agree, since hundreds of thousands of Roman inscriptions are preserved and none of them say that phrase. No photograph of a tomb with that phrase has been found either. According to San Isidoro (560-636), when one is buried he is no longer a corpse.

Some grave inscriptions include:

  • DMS– Sacred to the hands of the gods – Consecrated by the spirits of the gods.
  • RIP– Rest in peace – Que descanse en paz
  • STTL– Sit tibi terra levis – May the earth be light to you.

Book 20 of etymologies

In this book (“Etymologiarum Libri XX, Book XI de Homine et Portentis, II. De Aetatibvs Hominvm”) we will find the siguiente:

But every dead person is either a funeral or a corpse. It is a funeral if he is buried. And the funeral was said to be by burning ropes, which they carried in front of the coffin surrounded by wax paper. But it is a corpse if it lies unburied. For the dead body is named from falling, because it can no longer stand.

Every dead person is called funus (buried) or corpse. Funus are those who have been given a funeral and buried . The word funus comes from the ceremony of burning the ropes (funibus) made of papyrus and wax that surrounded the litters (or angarrillas = feretrum ) that were used to transport the dead. When the body is not buried it is called a corpse. The corpse’s name is cadendo (“falling”), because it can no longer stand up.


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