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Re: Corpse House (Funeral Home)

Posted by ESC on January 14, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Corpse House (Funeral Home) posted by ESC on January 14, 2005

: : Apparently in certain parts of Northeatern Pennsylvania a funeral home is called a "corpse house". This is apparently a colloquial expression used by older folks, which you wouldn't see printed in a newspaper, etc. Our local nutty weatherman used the term on TV this morning.

: : Another old-fashioned name is "funeral parlor". It's formal rather than colloquial, but you don't hear that one much anymore.

: I've looked in every regional slang dictionary I own and couldn't find "corpse house." Namely the Historical Dictionary of American Slang, the Dictionary of American Regional English, and the Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms: Local Expressions from Coast to Coast.

: Why was a weatherman talking about a corpse house? Cold as a corpse house maybe?

I googled: Pennsylvania slang "corpse house" and got several sites including one that said:

corpse house : funeral home or mortuary. This term seems to be quite common in the Wilkes-Barre/Scanton area. This from a viewer: in the days before funeral homes, the body of the deceased was laid out in its own house for viewing. When people were to pay their respects to the family, they would say "I'm going to the corpse house". The name carried over to funeral homes. See also parlor.

From CoalSpeak : The Official CoalRegion Dictionary at http://www.coalregion.com/Speak/speakA.htm Accessed January 13, 2005.

In West Virginia, a person might say, "That happened around the time that John lay a corpse."