Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 28, 2020 is:

undertaker • UN-der-tay-ker  • noun

1 : one who undertakes : one who takes the risk and management of business : entrepreneur

2 : one whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to arrange and manage funerals

3 : an Englishman taking over forfeited lands in Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries


The undertaker offered the family several choices of coffins for the burial service.

“The movement towards home-thrown funerals is being spearheaded by Heidi Boucher, a self-proclaimed home death-care guide. Boucher is what could best be described as half holistic hippie, and half 19th century undertaker.” — Rob Hoffman, The Times Union (Albany, New York), 24 Feb. 2020

Did you know?

You may wonder how the word undertaker made the transition from “one who undertakes” to “one who makes a living in the funeral business.” The latter meaning descends from the use of the word to mean “one who takes on business responsibilities.” In the 18th century, a funeral-undertaker was someone who undertook, or managed, a funeral business. There were many undertakers in those days, undertaking all sorts of businesses, but as time went on undertaker became specifically identified with the profession of arranging burial. Today, funeral director is more commonly used, but undertaker still appears.

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