Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

A reader writes …

“There has been so much funeral coverage on TV lately … I am wondering, what is the difference between a coffin and a casket?”

Good question. We did some research on this in 1997, so here’s a chance to add to that and relate our findings to you.

Many times, especially in the United States, the terms are used interchangeably. In Europe, we find the distinction is made more frequently.

Per several authoratative funeral sources …

A coffin is wider at the shoulder and tapers toward the feet. This shape was employed to save on the cost of wood as there was no need for width all the way to the bottom. This style is still found in Europe today. Coffins are sometimes very simple pine boxes, unlined and unadorned. Fancier coffins are lined, have a coffin plate of brass or silver with the deceased’s name and dates and sometimes a sentiment, and have three metal handles on either side for the six pallbearers to grasp on the way to the grave.

Princess Diana’s burial container is a traditional, tapered, heavy oak, flag-draped coffin.

diana coffin

06 September 1997


A casket originally referred to (and is defined in the dictionary as) a small chest for storing and carrying jewels or precious objects. A burial casket is a rectangular container of the same width from top to bottom. It is generally padded and lined, and goes into the ground after the grave has been lined with a vault. A casket usually opens at the top so the head and shoulders of the deceased may be viewed at the wake, and has the customary three handles on either side for pallbearers.

Michael Jackson’s burial container was a fancy, rectangular, gold-plated, solid bronze, velvet-lined casket.

michael casket

07 July 2009

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Given several untimely celebrity deaths of-late, and the content of our yesterday’s blog post on the multiple definitions of words, this post is eerily related.

We saw this People Magazine news headline today, and it just reinforced the fact that our English language is complex. Many words have many meanings and perceptions can frequently transport us among those meanings …

“Quincy Jones Tears Up When Hearing Michael’s Music”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

quincy jones tears up

We are truly not trying to be irreverent here … let’s just take a look at an interesting four-letter word: tear.

1. tear.  noun. pronounced [teer]

  • a drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles.
  • this fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, esp. grief.
  • something resembling or suggesting a tear, as a drop of a liquid or a tearlike mass of a solid substance, esp. having a spherical or globular shape at one end and tapering to a point at the other.
  • Glassmaking. a decorative air bubble enclosed in a glass vessel; air bell.
  • tears, grief; sorrow.

tear. verb (used without object)

  • to fill up and overflow with tears, as the eyes.

tear. Idiom

  • in tears

2. tear. verb (used with object). pronounced [tair]

  • to pull apart or in pieces by force, esp. so as to leave ragged or irregular edges.
  • to pull or snatch violently; wrench away with force: to tear wrappings from a package; to tear a book from someone’s hands. 
  • to distress greatly: anguish that tears the heart.
  • to divide or disrupt: a country torn by civil war. 
  • to wound or injure by or as if by rending; lacerate.
  • to produce or effect by rending: to tear a hole in one’s coat. 
  • to remove by force or effort: to be unable to tear oneself from a place. 

tear. verb (used without object)

  • to become torn.
  • to make a tear or rent.
  • to move or behave with force, violent haste, or energy: The wind tore through the trees; cars tearing up and down the highway; I was tearing around all afternoon trying to find sandals for the beach. 

tear. noun the act of tearing.

  • a rent or fissure.
  • a rage or passion; violent flurry or outburst.
  • Informal. a spree.

tear. Verb phrases: tear at, tear down, tear into, tear off, tear up

tear. Idioms: tear it, tear one’s hair, tear one’s hair out

More coincidence …

Rip is a synonym for tear [tair], as in to break, split, or shred. And, R.I.P., as you likely know, stands for Rest In Peace, which is what we wish for all who have met their mortality.

Source: dictionary.com

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Here’s another People Magazine news headline …

“Lou Ferrigno Training Michael Jackson for Tour”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

teacher's pet

So, here’s another word of the day for you to ponder …

hulk. noun

  • the body of an old or dismantled ship.
  • a ship specially built to serve as a storehouse, prison, etc., and not for sea service.
  • a clumsy-looking or unwieldy ship or boat.
  • a bulky or unwieldy person, object, or mass. as in: The Incredible Hulk.
  • the shell of a wrecked, burned-out, or abandoned vehicle, building, or the like.

hulk. verb (used without object)

  • to loom in bulky form; appear as a large, massive bulk (often fol. by up): The bus hulked up suddenly over the crest of the hill.
  • British Dialect. to lounge, slouch, or move in a heavy, loutish manner.

Source: dictionary.com

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