Bizarre history of the word "Morgue"

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Order of the Good Death Blog
July 13, 2012

The word morgue has a bizarre history.  The initial definition (in French) was morguer- to stare, to have a fixed and questioning gaze.  What you were meant to stare at were unidentified dead bodies – in a world before fingerprints, dental records, and DNA.

In the late 1800's, the Paris morgue became the place to see (dead bodies) and be seen (looking at dead bodies).  People would come by the thousands a day to look at the unidentified dead in the morgue; it was public death theater.  Spectacle!

Read the full article at Order of the Good Death Blog


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