Mummy Definition

Examples from Ancient Egypt

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The body of a dead Egyptian would be made into a mummy in order to preserve the body for its immortal soul. The process of mummification was complicated, including removing organs and wrapping the body in linen cloth. The body was treated with preservatives which dried out the body of the mummy.

The plural of ​a mummy is mummies.

The word "mummy" comes from the Arabic mumiyah (body preserved by wax or bitumen).


Hollywood has adapted the idea of a mummy's curse [see The Mummy's Curse and Lord George Carnarvon] in a host of movies featuring a mummy brought to life and walking. Brendan Fraser starred in a 1999 movie called The Mummy and a 2001 sequel, The Mummy Returns.

Ingredient Used to Preserve Ancient Egyptian Mummies

An ingredient used in preserving mummies has been found by a team of scientists. Had they read Pliny the Elder, they might have found it sooner.

The ingredient is an extract of the cedar tree with antibacterial properties. They were found in "chunks of embalming tar, found with the 2,500-year-old mummy of Saankh-kare," according to MSN's article ( Secrets of mummy-making revealed.

The preservative in question is called Guaiacol.

Pliny had written about this ingredient, albeit centuries later, but it would have saved millennia if scientists had read him: "The team extracted the cedar oil using a method mentioned in a work by Pliny the Elder, a Roman encyclopedist who wrote of an embalming ointment called ' cedrium'."