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Lying in State

Posted by R. Berg on February 12, 2003

In Reply to: Lying in State posted by S. on February 12, 2003

: My thanks in advance for any information as to the etymology and meaning of the "in state" part of "lying in state".

The Oxford Engl. Dict. has just a little about this:

"'In state': with great pomp and solemnity; with a great train; with splendid or honorific trappings and insignia. 'To lie in state': of a dead body, to be ceremoniously exposed to view before interment."

The OED defines one sense of "state" as "costly and imposing display, such as befits persons of rank and wealth; splendour, magnificence . . . " Apparently "lie in state" is connected with that sense.