Definition of morgue in English:

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Pronunciation: /mɔːɡ/


1A mortuary: the cadavers were bagged and removed to the city morgue
More example sentences
  • Postmortems on bodies are usually carried out in Dublin in the city morgue, or nationwide in hospital mortuaries.
  • A post-mortem was carried out at the city morgue after the body parts were removed from the Royal Canal.
  • The body was then exhumed and taken to the city morgue in Marino where a post-mortem was carried out.
1.1Used in reference to a place that is quiet, gloomy, or cold: she put us in that draughty morgue of a sitting room
More example sentences
  • This beautiful chateau had gone from a boarding house to a morgue in just one day.
  • ‘But it amounts to a morgue,’ Jen quietly agreed, shivering slightly at the reduced temperatures in the small room.
2 informal A newspaper’s collection of miscellaneous information for use in future obituaries: a full-time obituaries editor in charge of the morgue
More example sentences
  • There has been the constant battle to gain access to the pre-Internet newspaper clip morgues of papers, some of which long ago went out of business.
  • Frank then heads to the local newspaper to visit their morgue.
  • He was in charge of the clippings morgue at the newspaper.


Early 19th century: from French, originally the name of a building in Paris where bodies were kept until identified.

  • mortuary from Late Middle English:

    In the Middle Ages a mortuary was a gift claimed by a parish priest from a deceased person's estate. The word derives from Latin mortuus ‘dead’, the source also of mortgage (Late Middle English), literally a ‘dead pledge’ because the debt dies when the pledge is redeemed; and mortify (Late Middle English) ‘deaden’, and related to murder. The current sense, ‘a room or building in which dead bodies are kept’, dates from the mid 19th century. In Paris the bodies of people found dead formerly were taken to a building at the eastern end of the Île de la Cité, where they were kept until identified. It was called the Morgue (from a French word for haughtiness or sad expression). By the 1830s morgue was being used in English for other mortuaries; the parallel use of French morgue is not recorded until the 1940s and was borrowed back from English.

Words that rhyme with morgue


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