• cremains •
cri-maynz • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, plural
Meaning: Cremation remains, the ashes from a cremation.
Notes: I had never heard this word, but it now appears in at least 25 online dictionaries. So, I guess it has made it into the English vocabulary. It is a plural noun for there is no acceptable singular.
In Play: There are many creative ways to preserve cremains these days: "Lloyd had his wife's cremains interred in a snowfall orb so he could watch her fall the rest of his life." Since diamonds are simply pressurized carbon, even this is possible: "Maxine had her husband's cremains pressed into a diamond set atop a gold ring as she had begged him for all her married life."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a blend of cremation + remains. Cremation is the action noun of cremate, created from crematus, the past participle of cremare "to burn up". Latin inherited the stem of cremare from PIE krem-, a suffixed form of root ker- "heat, fire", also the source of English hearth. Remains is a plural noun made from the verb remain. This verb was borrowed from Old French remainer, passed down from Latin remanere "to remain", comprising re-, here an intensifier + manere "to stay, remain, abide". The root of manere was inherited from PIE men- "to stay", also found in manor, mansion, and permanent, borrowed from Latin. The last word, permanent, came from Latin permanen(t)s "enduring", the present participle of permanere "to endure", made up of per "throughout" + manere "to remain". (Let's now thank Lew Jury for his undying efforts to supply such Good Words as today's.)
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