September 6, 2022

What is Common Funeral Home Terminology?

The loss of a loved one is an emotional experience. It can get even more overwhelming when you have to deal with funeral arrangements because you’ll come across words you’ve never heard before. If you’re feeling lost and confused, we’ve defined some common funeral home terminologies to help you. 

If you’re planning to work in the death care industry, it would also be beneficial to familiarize yourself with these terms.

Roles in a Funeral Home

Arranging a funeral for a loved one involves talking to different people in a funeral home. Here are the most common roles you’ll encounter:

Funeral Director: The funeral director supervises all aspects of the funeral, including body preparation, the wake, the cremation, and the burial. He or she also provides emotional support to the bereaved. 

Embalmer: An embalmer is a highly trained and licensed professional whose role is to prepare and embalm the body. They also perform reconstructions to conceal damages and create a peaceful appearance for the dead. 

Coroner: A coroner is a judicial or government official responsible for investigating the deaths of those who suffered a violent, sudden, or unexpected death. 

Medical Examiner: A medical examiner is a doctor responsible for examining postmortem bodies and determining the cause or manner of death. 

Pallbearers: Pallbearers are usually the close family and friends of the deceased whose role is to carry the coffin. Funeral home employees can also be pallbearers. 

Certified Crematory Operator: A certified crematory operator offers cremation services for a funeral home. They label the bodies, place them inside the cremation furnace, and operate the machines. 

Rooms in a Funeral Home

There are a variety of rooms inside a funeral home, each one used for a specific purpose to assist the bereaved.

Arrangement Room: The arrangement room is a quiet and private space where the funeral director meets with bereaved families to discuss personal matters. 

Preparation Rooms: The preparation rooms are where the bodies of the deceased are embalmed and readied for burial. These rooms are usually in the basement or completely separate from the main facility. 

Reposing Room: After preparation, the bodies of the deceased are placed in the reposing room until it’s time for the wake or funeral service. It also serves as a venue for private family viewing. 

Reception Rooms: Reception rooms are for visitations and memorial services and are used to accommodate the family and friends of the deceased. 

Burial Terms

These are the terms you might encounter when arranging a burial for a loved one. 

Crypt: A crypt is a vault that can either be partially or fully underground and used to contain remains. 

Grave Liner: A grave liner is a burial receptacle placed in the ground of a burial spot. They can withstand the earth’s weight and prevent the coffin from caving in. 

Grave Markers and Headstones: Grave markers and headstones identify the person buried in a particular spot. The former lays flush against the ground, whereas the latter is erect. 

Interment: Interment is the act of burying a corpse in a grave or tomb, usually accompanied by a funeral ceremony. 

Mausoleum: A mausoleum is a large building that provides above-ground entombing of casketed remains. 

Cremation Terms

You might encounter these terms when you’re arranging for the cremation of a loved one.

Apportionment: Apportionment is the dividing of the cremated remains. The separate portions can be given to different family members, scattered, or kept in an urn.

Columbarium: A columbarium is a room or building that stores multiple urns. 

Cremation Urn: An urn is a vessel that holds and preserves the ashes of a deceased person after cremation.

Crematory: A crematory is a furnace that reduces a corpse to ashes by exposing it to very high temperatures. 

Niche: A niche is a small compartment that holds a single cremation urn. 

Call Wyuka Today!

Funeral home terminology is a lot to take in, but you can always ask funeral home employees for assistance. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call Wyuka Cemetery at (402) 474-3600. 


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