From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Mummy


An Egyptian mummy (embalmed corpse) at the Musée du Louvre, Paris
English Wikipedia has an article on:


  • IPA(key): /ˈmʌmi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌmi
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English mummie, from Anglo-Norman mumie, from Middle French momie, from Medieval Latin mumia, from Arabicمُومِيَاء(mūmiyāʔ), from Persianمومیا(mumyâ), from ⁧موم(mum, wax). Doublet of mumijo.


mummy (countable and uncountable, plural mummies)

  1. (countable) An embalmed human or animal corpse wrapped in linen bandages for burial, especially as practised by the ancient Egyptians and some Native American tribes. [from 17th c.]
    • 1832, Royal Society (Great Britain), Abstracts of The Papers Printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, From 1800 to 1830 inclusive, Volume 1: 1800-1814, page 201,
      [] Mr. Pearson proceeds to give a particular description of the very perfect mummy of an Ibis, which forms the chief subject of the present paper.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      Leo was the first to discover what these burdens were. `Great heaven!' he said, `they are corpses on fire!' I stared and stared again - he was perfectly right - the torches that were to light our entertainment were human mummies from the caves! On rushed the bearers of the flaming corpses, and, meeting at a spot about twenty paces in front of us, built their ghastly burdens crossways into a huge bonfire.
    • 1930, Sax Rohmer, The Day the World Ended, published 1969, page ii. 17:
      But, more horrible, I had not failed to note that its purplish gleaming body resembled that of a human being - or of a chrysalis encasing one - or of a mummy!
    • 2008, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Mysteries Unwrapped: The Real Monsters, page 2:
      Many people believed in the curse of the mummy, and soon, the curse had become an accepted part of Tut′s legend.
  2. (countable, by extension) A reanimated embalmed human corpse, as a stock character in horror films. [from 20th c.]
    • 2007, S. T. Joshi, Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares, volume 1, page 376:
      For many, mummies fascinate more than repel. Our horrific connotations lie not so much with the mummy itself, but in associated fears. The mummy serves, of course, as a general reminder of our own mortality and our fear of death, but this alone is not enough to make it a monster.
  3. (countable, by extension) Any naturally preserved human or animal body. [from 18th c.]
  4. (countable, uncountable, now rare) A brown pigment originally prepared from the ground-up remains of Egyptian animal or human mummies mixed with bitumen, etc. [from 19th c.]
    Synonym: mummy brown
  5. (uncountable, now rare) A pulp. [from 17th c.]
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], “The Author’s Veracity. His Design in Publishing this Work. []”, in Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], volume II, London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, part IV (A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms), page 345:
      Imagine twenty thouſand of them breaking into the midſt of an European Army, confounding the Ranks, overturning the Carriages, battering the Warriors Faces into Mummy, by terrible Yerks from their hinder Hoofs.
    • 1755, Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Tobias Smollett, Don Quixote, Volume 1, I.4:
      Going up to him, therefore, he laid hold on his lance, and breaking it, began to thresh him so severely, that, in spite of the resistance of his armour, he was almost beaten into mummy [] .
    • 1837, Mathew Carey, Vindiciae Hibernicae, page 116:
      You may beat them to a mummy, you may put them upon the rack, you may burn them on a gridiron, [] yet you will never remove them from that innate fidelity []
  6. (uncountable, medicine, now historical) A substance used in medicine, prepared from mummified flesh. [from 14th c.]
    • 1978, Benjamin Walker, Encyclopedia of Metaphysical Medicine, Routledge, page 253:
      Yet another scatological medicament was obtained from mummy, the material derived from a dried or embalmed human corpse, the most valuable being that imported from Mizraim (ancient Egypt).
    • 2006, Philip Ball, The Devil's Doctor, Arrow, published 2007, page 360:
      Nonetheless, his book advertises many Paracelsian remedies, including laudanum, mummy, antimony and mercury.
    • 1634, T[homas] H[erbert], A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile, Begunne Anno 1626. into Afrique and the Greater Asia, [], London: [] William Stansby, and Jacob Bloome, →OCLC:
      In or near this place is a precious liquor, or mummy, growing, Mumnaky-koobasa they call it, which none presumes to take, it being carefully preserved for the King's sole use.
  7. (uncountable, horticulture, obsolete) A sort of wax used in grafting. [18th c.]
Derived terms[edit]
Terms derived from mummy (noun)
See also[edit]


mummy (third-person singular simple present mummies, present participle mummying, simple past and past participle mummied)

  1. (transitive, dated) To mummify.

Etymology 2[edit]

Diminutive of mum, related to mom and mommy, from mother.


mummy (plural mummies)

  1. (chiefly UK, New England, usually childish) mother.
    • 1926, John Steinbeck, The Saturday Evening Post, volume 198, page 9:
      “Oh, mummy, would you like the loveliest daughter-in-law in the world? Oh, mummy, I must marry Flora Dewsley. But I know I am not nearly good enough, mummy. She knows nothing of the world and its wickedness, and I — Well, mummy, at school, a fellow learns everything. And no man is perfect, is he, mummy? []
    • 1927, Harper's Magazine, volume 155, page 188:
      Meeting mummy after this visit was not exactly easy.
    • 2003, Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin, published 2010, unnumbered page:
      [] What′s your problem, you little shit? Proud of yourself, for ruining Mummy′s life?” I was careful to use the insipid falsetto the experts commend. “You′ve got Daddy snowed, but Mummy′s got your number. You're a little shit, aren′t you?″
    • 2004, Dennis Child, Psychology and the Teacher, Continuum International Publishing, page 91,
      [] We have to ask mummy if we can go to Rajah′s mummy′s house (Rajah′s mummy is the owner of the dog). We can if mummy says “yes”. []
    • 2009, Paul Harding, Tinkers, published 2010, unnumbered page:
      Darla stared at her father and said, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!
      Marjorie wheezed and said, Father. You. Are. Filthy!
      Joe said Daddy′s muddy! Daddy′s muddy!
      Darla stared at the darkened doorway where Howard stood, saying, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, each time a little louder, each time a bit more shrilly, [] .
Alternative forms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]