morgue (n.) "mortuary," 1821, from Fr. Morgue, originally a specific building in Paris where bodies were exposed for identification:
There is, in the most populous part of the French metropolis, an establishment entitled La Morgue, destined for the reception and exposition of bodies drowned in the Seine, and caught in nets, which are placed in different parts of the river for that purpose. The object of this exposition is, that the deceased may be recognised by their friends or relatives, and receive the rights of sepulture accordingly. The Morgue is open at all hours of the day, to passengers of every description, and often displays at a time, five or six horrible carcasses stretched, without covering, on an inclined platform, and subjected to the promiscuous gaze of the mob. ["American Review," January 1811]
Before that it was the place where new prisoners were displayed to keepers to establish their identification. Thus the name is believed to be probably from Fr. morgue "haughtiness," originally "a sad expression, solemn look," from O.Fr. morguer "look solemnly," from V.L. *murricare "to make a face, pout," from *murrum "muzzle, snout." The 1768 Dictionnaire Royal François-Anglois Et Anglois-François defines Fr. morgue both as "A proud, big, haughty or stately look, stare, surliness, or surly look" and "A little gratel room wherein a new prisoner is set, and must continue some hours, that the Jailer's ordinary servants may the better take notice of his face."
Adopted as a general term in U.S., 1880s, replacing earlier dead house, etc. In newspaper slang, "collection of pre-written obituary material of living persons" (1903), hence "library of clips, photos, etc.," 1918.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • morgue — 1. (mor gh ) s. f. 1°   Contenance sérieuse et fière. •   Morgue de magistrat rébarbatif, sévère, Qui ne dément jamais son grave caractère, DUFRÉNY Mar. fait et rompu, I, 2. 2°   Orgueil et suffisance. •   T ai je tracé la vieille à morgue… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • morgué — morgué, ée 1. (mor ghé, ghée) part. passé de morguer1. 1°   À qui on fait la morgue. Morgué par un fat. 2°   Qui fait la morgue. •   Monseigneur paraissait rêveur et morgué, SAINT SIMON 271, 156. •   Je vis mettre le roi à table, il me sembla… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Morgue — ist ein älterer Begriff für ein Leichenschauhaus (auch englisch the morgue und französisch la morgue); ein Gedicht von Rainer Maria Rilke in Neue Gedichte (1907); Morgue und andere Gedichte ist der Titel der ersten Lyriksammlung von Gottfried… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • morgue — [mo:g US mo:rg] n [Date: 1800 1900; : French; Origin: Morgue, name of a morgue in Paris] 1.) a building or room, usually in a hospital, where dead bodies are kept until they are buried or ↑cremated = ↑mortuary 2.) a place that has become very… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Morgue — Morgue, n. [F.] 1. A place where the bodies of dead persons are kept, until they are identified, or claimed by their friends; a deadhouse. [1913 Webster +PJC] 2. (Newspapers) A room containing reference files of older material in a newspaper… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Morgue — [mɔrk], die; , n [ mɔrgn̩; frz. morgue, urspr. = Raum im Gefängnis, in dem die Identität der Häftlinge überprüft wird, viell. zu älter: morguer = mit Hochmut behandeln]: Leichenschauhaus (in Paris) …   Universal-Lexikon

  • morgue — / mȯrg/ n: a place where the bodies of persons found dead are kept until identified and claimed by relatives or released for burial or autopsy Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • Morgue — [mɔrg] die; , n [ mɔrgn̩] <aus gleichbed. fr. morgue> Leichenschauhaus [in Paris] …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • morgue — [ mɔrg ] noun count a building or room where dead bodies are kept temporarily like a morgue OFTEN HUMOROUS without much noise or activity …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • morgue — sustantivo femenino 1. Área: medicina Depósito de cadáveres: Los cuerpos de las víctimas fueron trasladados por orden judicial a la morgue …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

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