/mum"ee/, n., pl. mummies, v., mummied, mummying.n.1. the dead body of a human being or animal preserved by the ancient Egyptian process or some similar method of embalming.2. a dead body dried and preserved by nature.3. a withered or shrunken living being.4. a dry, shriveled fruit, tuber, or other plant organ, resulting from any of several fungous diseases.v.t.5. to make into or cause to resemble a mummy; mummify.[1350-1400; ME mummie < ML mummia < Ar mumiyah mummy, lit., bitumen < Pers mum wax]mummy2/mum"ee/, n., pl. mummies. Chiefly Brit.mother.[1815-25; MUM4 + -Y2]
* * *Body embalmed or preserved for burial in the manner of the ancient Egyptians.The process varied from age to age in Egypt, but it always involved removing the internal organs, treating the body with resin, and wrapping it in linen bandages. (In later Egyptian times, the organs were replaced after treatment.) Among the many other peoples who practiced mummification were those of the Torres Strait, near Papua New Guinea, and the Incas.
* * *body embalmed (embalming), naturally preserved, or treated for burial with preservatives after the manner of the ancient Egyptians. The process varied from age to age in Egypt, but it always involved removing the internal organs (though in a late period they were replaced after treatment), treating the body with resin, and wrapping it in linen bandages. (See embalming.) Among the many other peoples who practiced mummification were the people living along the Torres Strait, between Papua New Guinea and Australia, and the Incas (Inca) of South America.There was a widespread belief that Egyptian mummies were prepared with bitumen (the word comes from the Arabic mūmiyah ‘bitumen'), which was supposed to have medicinal value. Throughout the Middle Ages, “mummy,” made by pounding mummified bodies, was a standard product of apothecary shops. In course of time it was forgotten that the virtue of mummy lay in the bitumen, and spurious mummy was made from the bodies of felons and suicides. The traffic in mummy continued in Europe until the 18th century.
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