14 Words That Have TOTALLY Different Meanings At A Funeral Home

In the funeral business, there are lots of words which, if not used correctly, could cause a somewhat frightening (or very funny) misunderstanding at your funeral home.

In fact, you could probably have a conversation that an average person might find to be normal, but actually means something entirely different. For example, you could say “Hey Bill, you just got done with DC? Is she dressed yet? Ok, let’s go answer the call.”

Sure, this would be a normal conversation for non-funeral directors, but as a funeral pro, you know that you weren’t asking if Bill just left the capital of our country with a woman who isn’t dressed and is calling you.

So, with all seriousness aside, I’ve taken the honor of putting together 14 average, everyday words that have an entirely different meaning at your funeral home… and could evoke some pretty hilarious reactions if stated just right. Enjoy!

#1: Family

What it usually means:
Your family. The people you’re related to by blood.

What it actually means: Not actually your family, but someone else’s. I know, it’s confusing, but seriously. You haven’t actually seen your own family in ages, probably because you’re too busy taking care of everyone else’s.

#2: Beautifying

What it usually means: There ain’t nothing a little concealer, John Frieda hair serum and hairspray can’t do.

What it actually means: There ain’t nothing a little airbrush cosmetics and formaldehyde can’t do.

#3: Pacemaker

What it usually means: A device used to control abnormal heart rhythms.

What it actually means: Pacemaker? IN THE CREMATORY!? Take cover, run for the hills everyone, there’s about to be a fireworks show.

#4: Call

What it usually means: When your phone rings and you pick it up.

What it actually means: We have a call to be answered?! Stop what you’re doing, no matter what time it is, get up and let’s do what funeral directors do best.

#5: Personalization

What it usually means: A way to make something you own really “yours.” Maybe it’s monogramming your initials, maybe it’s paying extra to get something in your favorite color. Whatever it is, it’s usually pretty awesome.

What it actually means: Wait…so they don’t want a direct cremation?! Time for a happy dance.

#6: Loved one

What it usually means: Family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are important to you and you just… love.

What it actually means: That dead person, over there. OK, we’re not that harsh. But you get the point.

#7: Rest

What it usually means:
Something you get 8 hours of every night… and a couple hours during the day too (if you’re lucky).

What it actually means: Rest? The only kind of rest you know about is the kind you do in peace, or eternally.

#8: Selfie


What it usually means: A photo you take of yourself and upload to every social network that ever existed.

What it actually means: Another teenage girl wants to take a funeral selfie (aka felfie) with the body? Geez, we’re going to have to make a policy for that…

#9: “Beautiful Memory Picture”

What it usually means: Every picture you take with your friends and family, of course. Also see “selfie.”

What it actually means: “Hey John, that family’s memory picture was AMAZING. They said their uncle looks peaceful AND realistic. And that casket? Phew. Kudos to you man, kudos to you.”

#10: Dressed

What it usually means: A necessary chore to get your day started that has become constant struggle… especially if you’re in bed and it’s cold outside.

What it actually means: A necessary chore that that has also become a constant struggle, especially if the clothes were the loved one’s favorite 20 years ago. Let’s just say they don’t exactly fit the same…

#11: Christmas

What it usually means: A relaxing time to spend with your family and friends celebrating the birth of Christ while exchanging gifts and cheer.

What it actually means: A time of complete and utter insanity and unpredictability at your funeral home. It’s pretty much a swear word.

#12: DC

What it usually means: Washington D.C., the capital of our nation where our president and White House reside.

What it actually means: Death certificate, the document no one likes to request.

#13: Swing

What it usually means: Your favorite childhood pastime at the playground.

What it actually means: Your least favorite tool to use at the funeral home.

#14: Job

What it usually means: That boring commitment you have that keeps you in a cubicle from 9-5, 5 days a week.

What it actually means: Working at a funeral home isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. Sure, it’s no average 9-5… it keeps you busy all hours of the day. But that’s ok, because being a funeral director is something you chose. It’s your life passion.

Now here’s to you, funeral directors…

What other words would have an entirely different meaning if used at your funeral home that are either funny or frightening? Tell us in the comments below!

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  1. Sandy Moffett

    We can all use a little levity in this business. But it is a “calling” and an opportunity to “minister” if you will.