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What is the difference between funeral director, mortician, and undertaker?

Difference between funeral director and mortician

In modern parlance, the terms funeral director, mortician, and undertaker mean the same thing. Namely, a person who supervises or conducts the preparation of the dead forburial and directs or arranges funerals. (HT: Dictionary.com)

Funeral director, mortician, or undertaker?However, while the three terms are generally synonymous, a funeral director can refer to someone who owns or operates a funeral home. Mortician specifically means the person who handles the body in preparation for a funeral.

Since most funeral homes are small, local operations, the person who embalms and beautifies the body is also often the funeral director. Commonly this is also the owner of the funeral home. This is why funeral director and mortician are generally interchangable.

Undertaker is actually a euphemism which refers to the person in charge of (i.e., someone who undertakes the responsibility for) the body and burial service.

Did you know: You can purchase caskets or cremation urns online for much less than in the funeral home. There are no laws which require you to purchase from the funeral home. In fact, the laws that exist protect your right to purchase a casket or urn from anyone you choose.

So what is the difference between funeral director, mortician, and undertaker?

All things considered, not much. Funeral Director just sounds so much more pleasant than the other two (or three, if you include “embalmer”) so most professionals prefer the term “funeral director.”

From Mirriam-Webster:

 

Funeral Director
1: a person whose job is to arrange and manage funerals

Mortician
1: a person whose job is to prepare dead people to be buried and to arrange and manage funerals

Undertaker
1:  one that undertakes:  one that takes the risk and management of business; entrepreneur
2:  one whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to arrange and manage funerals

So ultimately, it depends on the specific job of each funeral professional. In larger funeral homes these roles may be spread out among several different team members; in smaller businesses and/or areas, one or two people may run the whole show and therefore do everything.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s have some fun.

Fun stuff for funeral directors, morticians, and undertakers

Mortician Humor

Mortician humor t-shirt available here.

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One thought on “What is the difference between funeral director, mortician, and undertaker?

  1. […] What’s the Difference Between a Funeral Director, Mortician, and Undertaker? – Just in case you were wondering. […]

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