Children's Glossary

Some common Funeral terms suitable for a younger audience to understand.



An administrator is someone chosen by important people who take care of the things a person leaves behind after they have passed away and didn’t leave any instructions. This person makes sure that the belongings and money of the person who has died are given to the people who should get them.


Ashes are the remains of someone who has died after their body has been cremated.

Ashes Casket

An ashes casket is a box for burying the ashes of someone who has died.



See Pallbearer.


A bier is a frame like a trolley for carrying a coffin to the church or cemetery.


A beneficiary is someone named in a will who has been given something from the person who has died.


A bequest is when someone leaves something like money, property, or land to someone else in their will.


The bereaved are people who are sad when someone close to them has died.


Bereavement is the feeling of sadness that comes when someone close to you has died.

Body Donation

Body donation is when you give your body to a medical school after you have died.

Book of Remembrance

A book of remembrance is a book kept in a crematorium to remember people who have died.


Burial is when a coffin or casket containing the body of someone who has died is put into the ground.

Burial at Sea

Burial at sea is when someone’s body or ashes are put into the sea. See Burial.

Burial Fees

Burial fees are the cost to use a grave to bury someone’s body or ashes.

Burial Ground

A burial ground is an area of land where people’s bodies or ashes are buried.

Burial Plot

A burial plot is an area of a cemetery where someone can be buried when they die.



A casket is a box that people put a dead person’s body in for a funeral. It is usually rectangular in shape.


A catafalque is a stand or a base that people put a casket or coffin on during a funeral. It is often decorated or has a fancy cloth called a pall over it.

Celebration of Life

A celebration of life is like a funeral service that talks about happy memories of the person who has died. It is usually led by someone who can talk about the person.


A cemetery is a place where people bury the dead, often you can see them near a church.


A cenotaph is a special statue or monument that people make to remember someone who has died, but is not buried there. There is a big cenotaph in London to remember soldiers who fought in World War I and II.

Certificate for Burial or Cremation

A certificate for burial or cremation is a special paper that you need to get from the government after someone dies. You need this paper to bury or cremate the person’s body.

Chapel of Rest

A chapel of rest is a room in a funeral home where people can go to say goodbye to their loved one who has passed away. It’s not always in a church.


A coffin is a box that people put a dead person’s body in for a funeral. It is usually made of wood or special materials that are safe for the environment.


A columbarium is a building where people keep the ashes of people who were cremated. It has small shelves where you can put the urns containing the ashes.

Committal Service

A committal service is a ceremony at a graveside where the coffin or casket is buried. It can happen right after a funeral service or on a different day. The ashes can also be buried at a committal service.

Condolence Message

A condolence message is a letter or card that people send to someone to show them that they are sorry for their loss.


A coroner is a special person who works for the government and looks into how someone died when it’s not clear or when someone has died in an unusual way.


See Funeral Procession.


Cremation is when a coffin with a dead person’s body inside is burned. It’s a way to say goodbye and lay the person to rest. (for burned, you might consider “turned into ashes.” Further references in the glossary might be either; cremated or burned.)


A crematorium is a building where cremations take place. It has a big oven where they burn the coffin, usually followed by a service where people say goodbye.


Death Certificate

A death certificate is a special paper that shows that someone has died and it’s official, after their death is registered with a government office.

Death Notice

A death notice is a message in the newspaper that tells people someone has died and gives information about their funeral.

Digital legacy

A digital legacy is all the stuff a person has online like social media, email, music or films, after they pass away.


Disbursements are bills that a family pays for a funeral. This could be things like renting a place for a get together after the funeral, costs of cremation, or flowers.



Embalming is a way to care for a person’s body before a funeral.


The estate is all the things a person owns when they die, like their money, their house, and their things. See Will.


A eulogy is a speech people give at a funeral to talk about how great the person who died was. See Funeral.


It’s a person chosen to take care of a dead person’s things and make sure they go to the right people, like their family and friends.


This is when they dig up a dead person’s body and move it to another place, they need special permission to do it in UK. See Burial Ground.


Floral Tribute

Flowers that people give or buy for a funeral to honour the person who passed away.


A ceremony to remember someone who has died, before they are buried or cremated. It can be religious or not and can have speeches, readings, and songs to remember the person’s life.

Funeral Celebrant

A person who leads the funeral ceremony, they might give a speech or talk about the person who died.

Funeral Director

A person who plans a funeral for a family, they take care of everything, like the body and the paperwork, and help with the funeral cars, flowers and music.

Funeral Home

A building where a funeral director works. They take care of people who have died and make plans for funerals.

Funeral Hymn

A church song that is sung at a funeral.

Funeral Plan

A Funeral Plan is a way to pay for your own funeral in advance so that your family doesn’t have to.

Funeral Procession

A parade of cars that drive slowly to the funeral ceremony, usually with the funeral director at the front and a car called a hearse carrying the coffin.

Funeral Service

A ceremony before the person is buried or cremated, where family and friends can give speeches and remember the person who died.


Garden of Remembrance

It’s an area of land near where people can put up things like plaques, flowers, and little gardens to remember the person who has died. Sometimes people will scatter the ashes of the person in that area as well.


A hole in the ground in a cemetery where people put a dead person’s body in a coffin and cover it with soil. Sometimes people put a stone marker on top to remember them.


A stone marker that shows where someone is buried in a graveyard.


It’s another name for a cemetery, usually an older one that is next to a church.

Green Funeral

When people have a green funeral they use coffins that are safe for the environment and buried in natural places like woodlands.


When someone feels really sad after someone they loved died.

Grief Counsellor

A special person that helps people who are sad after someone the loved has died.

Grief Therapy

Different ways to help people deal with the sadness they feel after someone they love died, like talking to a special person or using art.

Grief Therapy Dog

Grief Therapy Dog: A dog that is used to help people talk and feel more comfortable when they’re talking about someone who died. They’re specially trained and can help to calm children.



A special stone marker that people put on top of a grave to remember the person who died. It has the person’s name, the years they were alive, and sometimes a quote or poem.


A long car that is used to take a person’s coffin to the funeral.


It’s a special kind of hospital for people who are very sick and not going to get better. They help make the person feel as comfortable as they can and give care to the person and their family.

Humanist Funeral

A funeral that doesn’t have any church like things in it, like reading the bible (please use other religious book terms where applicable) or praying. It’s more about the person who died and their life, especially if they weren’t a religious person.

Hymn Sheet

A hymn sheet is a piece of paper with the words and music for a hymn written on it.


Inheritance Tax

When someone dies, if they have a lot of money and things that cost a lot and a house, sometimes the government takes some money from it.


When someone dies and people don’t know why or who they are, special people make checks to find out.


When someone dies without making a plan for what happens to their things.


Another word for when someone is buried.


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A Scottish word for a place where someone is buried

Letters of administration

A special letter that lets someone take care of the things of someone who passed away because they didn’t make a plan before they died.



A big building where people keep the bodies of their loved ones who have passed away, above the ground in special rooms called tombs.

Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

A paper that a doctor gives that says how someone died, that is needed to show why they passed away.


A special object, like a bench or piece of jewellery, that people make to remember someone who has died.

Memorial Bench

A bench that people give to remember someone who has passed away, often found in places like parks or gardens.

Memorial Mason

A worker who makes and fixes headstones (big stone markers) for graves.

Memorial Service

A ceremony to remember someone who has passed away, that happens as well as a funeral.


When a baby dies inside it’s mother before it can be born.


A room where dead people’s bodies are kept and taken care of before their funerals.


A person who takes care of the dead body, dressing and preparing it for a funeral.

Mourning Clothes

The type of clothes people wear when they are sad and miss someone who has died, usually in black colour, especially in olden times.

Mourning Jewellery

Jewellery people wear to remember someone who has passed away, which was popular in the past, usually black and decorated with pictures like teardrops and hearts.


National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)

The National Association of Funeral Directors is a group of people who work with funeral directors and help them do their job.

Natural Burial

This is when we bury someone in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. This means we don’t use chemicals on the body and we use caskets and headstones made of natural materials like wood or slate.

Natural Burial Ground

A natural burial ground is a special place where we can only bury people using natural burials. Some of these places are private, but some are owned by churches or towns.


Next-of-kin is the person who is closest to the person who died, and they are the one who makes decisions for them if they can’t make them themselves.



An obituary is a message in a newspaper or website that tells people that someone has passed away. It usually tells about the person’s life and how much they meant to their family and friends. It also tells when and where the funeral will be.


An Officiant is a person who leads the funeral service.

Order of Service

An order of service is a piece of paper that has information about the funeral service, such as a short summary of the person who passed away, and what prayers, songs, and readings will be included.

Organ donation

Organ donation is when someone gives their organs to help someone else after they die. Organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys, and eyes can be given to help someone else stay alive. Sometimes living people can also donate organs.



A pall is a decorated cloth that is placed over a coffin at a funeral.


Pallbearers are people who carry or go with the coffin at a funeral. They are usually close friends or family members, or people provided by the funeral director. They can be men or women.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is when doctors and nurses take care of a person who is very sick and nearing the end of their life. They give medical treatment and care help, and it can happen in a hospital, hospice, or at home.

Pauper’s Grave

A pauper’s grave is a grave provided by the government for someone who can’t afford a funeral. It may be shared with other people.

Post-mortem Examinations

A post-mortem is when a doctor checks the body of someone who has passed away to find out how they died. A legal person asks this to be done by a doctor who does this often.

Pre-planned/Pre-arranged Funeral

A pre-planned or pre-arranged funeral is a funeral that has been planned and prepared before the person’s death. Sometimes the person themselves plan and pay for it in advance with a funeral plan.


Probate is the way of sorting out someone’s property and money after they pass away and makes sure that it is given to the right people

Public Health Funeral

This is a funeral for someone whose family is not known and it is usually arranged by the local council.


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After a funeral, people get together to remember and talk about the person who passed away. This can help people feel less sad. It can be like a quiet party and people usually eat and drink together.


This is when somebody dies when they are in a different country and they are brought back to their home country.



Scattering is when the ashes of someone who has died are spread in a place that was special to them or their family.

State Funeral

A state funeral is a funeral that is organized by the government and follows special rules such as a public ceremony and military escorts. For example Queen Elizabeth II had a state funeral.


Stillbirth is when a baby dies before they are born and they and they have been inside their mother for 20 weeks..


Suicide is when a person chooses to end their own life.



Thanatophobia is a persistent fear of death that can cause symptoms of anxiety and disrupt daily life.



Undertaker” is an old-fashioned name for someone who helps plan funerals for people who have died.


An urn is a special container for keeping the ashes of someone who has died. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials.



A “viewing” is when people go to see the body of someone who has died in a chapel of rest.



A “wake” is another word for a reception after a funeral.

War Memorial

A “war memorial” is a special statue or monument that is built to remember soldiers or other people who died in a war.


A “widow” is a woman whose husband has died. A “widower” is a man whose wife has died.


A “will” is a document that tells how a person who has died wants their money and things to be given to other people. It has to be signed and witnessed by people who aren’t getting anything from it.

Woodland Burial

A “woodland burial” is also called a “natural burial” it means burying the body of a person who has died in a place in nature like a park or forest.

Woodland Burial Ground

A “woodland burial ground” is a special place in nature where people can be buried.


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