When a loved one dies, you suddenly find yourself making difficult decisions about what to do with their body. The endless options can be very confusing, especially if you don’t know what the terms mean. Some terms that you may want to familiarize yourself with include:
Adult urn – A container designed to hold the cremated remains of one adult. Typically approximately 200 cubic inches. Also known as a standard sized urn.
Alternative Container – An unfinished wood, fiberboard, or corrugated cardboard box intended to hold the remains of the deceased prior to cremation. Typically unornamented and simple in design, and generally lower in cost than a casket.
Apportionment – The dividing of cremated remains into portions for separate disposition. For example, separate portions of the cremated remains may be placed in an urn in a columbarium, scattered in a favorite location, and carried in a locket.
Ashes – The remains of the body after the cremation process is complete .Also known as cremated remains or cremains.
Burial – Placement of a dead body underground. Typically refers to an intact body in a casket, but can also refer to an urn of cremated remains. Also known as internment.
Burial Vault – A lined, sealed underground vault designed to hold the buried remains.
Casket – A box or chest intended to contain intact human remains. Usually made of wood; can also be made of metal, fiberglass, or plastic. Also known as a coffin.
Cemetery – An area of land set aside for burial or entombment of the deceased.
Child Urn – A container intended to hold the cremated remains of an infant or child. Usually smaller than 100 cubic inches. Also known as an infant urn.
Columbarium – A structure with small spaces (niches) intended to hold urns containing cremated remains. This above -ground structure may be outdoors or part of an indoor mausoleum, and is meant for final or long -term disposition of cremated remains.
Companion Urn – A container intended to hold the cremated remains of two adults, such as the remains of a married couple. Typically 400 cubic inches or larger.
Cremains – The remains of the body after the cremation process is complete. Also known as cremated remains or ashes.
Cremated Remains – The remains of the body after the cremation process is complete. Also known as cremains or ashes.
Cremation – The reduction of human remains to small bone fragments through intense heat and flame.
Cremation Casket – A casket designed to be used when the body is to be cremated. The casket may be used for visitation and the funeral, and is then cremated with the body.
Cremation Garden – An area in a cemetery designated for the burial or scattering of ashes.
Cremation Permit – Legal permission granted by the local government to authorize cremation of the deceased.
Crematorium or Crematory – A place where cremations are conducted. A building with a specifically -designed furnace intended for cremating human remains.
Crypt – An above -ground space in a mausoleum intended to hold human remains, either in a casket or cremated and in an urn.
Direct Cremation – Cremation without a funeral or formal memorial service.
Disposition – The placement of the remains in their final resting place. Can include ground burial, scattering of ash, and all other forms of placement.
Embalming – The process of preserving the body following death, allowing the family to view the body and hold funeral services prior to burial or cremation. In cases where the body is to be cremated, embalming may or may not be necessary.
Funeral – A ceremony honoring the end of a person’s life, with the body present. Also known as a funeral ceremony or funeral service.
Grave – A space in the ground in a cemetery intended for the burial of human remains in a casket, or cremated remains in an urn.
Grave or memorial marker – Permanent memorials, usually made of metal or stone, which contain information about the deceased such as name, dates of birth and death. Used to identify the gravesite. Also known as a headstone.
Interment – The final placement of remains, particularly the burial of a body in a grave. Also known as burial.
Inurment – The placing of an urn containing cremated remains into a grave, columbarium, mausoleum, or other permanent location. May also refer to placing the cremated remains into the urn.
Keepsake Urn – A small, decorative container meant to hold a small portion of the cremated remains, sometimes as little as 1 cubic inch. Keepsake urns can be used as a way to divide the remains between family members or as a keepsake when the rest of the ashes have been buried or scattered.
Mausoleum – A building in which human remains are entombed above -ground. Many mausoleums contain human remains in caskets as well as a columbarium to hold cremated remains.
Memorial Service – A ceremony honoring the end of a person’s life, without the body present.
Multiple Burial – The burial of more than one person in one gravesite, allowing for cremated remains to be buried in the same grave as a spouse or other family member. Not all cemeteries allow this option.
Niche – A recess or hole in the wall of a columbarium or mausoleum designed to hold an urn containing cremated remains.
Plot – An area of ground in a cemetery that is owned by an individual or family. It may contain one or multiple graves.
Remains – The body of the deceased.
Rental Casket – A casket available for use during a viewing or funeral ceremony. Following the ceremony, the casket remains the property of the funeral home, and the body is transferred to an alternative container for cremation.
Scattering – The dispersal of cremated remains at sea, by air, or over land.
Scattering Garden – An area in a cemetery set aside for families to scatter the ashes of their loved ones.
Temporary Urn – A container in which the cremated remains are placed by the crematorium. Usually a plastic or cardboard box intended to hold the remains until they are scattered or transferred to a permanent urn.
Urn – A container designed to hold cremated human remains. It may be made of stone, wood, metal, glass, porcelain, or other materials. This urn may be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, buried in the ground, or kept as a keepsake.
Urn Vault – A grave liner that completely encloses an urn which has been buried underground.
Viewing – A period of time in which the deceased is available to be seen by friends and relatives, either before or after the funeral service.
Water Disposition – The scattering of cremated remains into the sea.