Casket - a sturdy sealed box to contain a body for burial. Usually ornate.
Coffin - the same as a casket. Usually used to reference a simpler wood box.
Columnbarium - a multiple-compartment structure meant for cremation burials,
with individual niche spaces aligned in columns. Usually made of granite
and decorative. Rests above ground.
Cremation - a process whereby a deceased individual's remains are reduced to
"ashes" - which are in all cases made up of only bone particles.
Technically this term refers to the oven - or burning - method. However,
other methods are also possible and for clarity of explanation often use
the same term.
Crypt - A constructed burial chamber usually intended to entomb a casket.
Sometimes refers to an underground chamber containing several or many
burials. In reference to a modern mausoleum, each crypt contains only
one burial. (The mausoleum may contain many or a few crypts.)
Disinterment - To remove a previous burial.
Interment - A burial. (to inter = to bury)
Liner - Similar to a vault for burial purposes to encase a casket, but is made of
thinner concrete, and not structurally intended to be moved.
Mausoleum - a large or stately building or tomb housing two or several above
ground crypt or niche burials. Mausoleums may be private or communal.
Niche - An individual compartment meant to house one or a small number of
cremation urns or boxes. Once sealed is considered a burial. Rests above
ground, indoors or outdoors.
Officiant - typically a rabbi, minister, or priest, but generally is one who is trained
to officiate or lead a service. In the case of a funeral, the officient often is
not required to be ordained, though is trained. Some states may vary.
Ossuary - A housing or containment specifically for the communal burial of bones
or cremated ashes of the deceased.
Pallbearer - one called upon to help carry the casket at a funeral. (A "pall" is a
term for the cloth that can cover a casket.)
Plot - Two or more grave spaces, positioned together as a unit.
Repass - the gathering that occurs directly after a burial or burial ceremony. Is
often held at the family's home. In modern times it often includes a meal
and can be held anywhere the family and guests can comfortably gather.
Shroud - A length of cloth or enveloping garment in which a body is wrapped for
burial. Often it's purpose is to conceal from view, tightly swaddle and
contain, and has handles for carrying. Often used in place of a coffin in
an eco-friendly "green" burial.
Wake - Today it is synonymous with "viewing" held at the funeral home prior to
the funeral as a social gathering around the family and the
deceased. Traditionally it was held in the deceased's home while the body
Vault - A sturdy metal or concrete housing to secure something of value. In
burial terms, a vault is the outer housing for a casket and is usually of
substantial strength should a burial ever need to be moved.