April 1, 2013

Case File #013.04.01: MUMMY

As Boris Karloff surely knew, the word mummy came to English via the Medieval Latin mumia, which means “embalmed body,” and the Latin is itself a variation on an old Persian word for bitumen, mumiya. Bitumen is a form of asphalt once commonly used as cements and mortars, so the Latin word mumia was likely intended to allude to the gluey resins that the ancient Egyptians used in their embalming process. And you could say, then, that a mummy is merely a sticky stiff.

©2013 Michael R. Gates

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