What is the difference between a morgue and a mortuary?

The word "morgue" has its roots in French, originally referring to a section of a prison where new inmates were held for identification purposes. However, in fifteenth-century Paris, it took on a new meaning as a place for storing and identifying unknown bodies.

Today, a morgue is a facility typically located within a hospital or medical center that serves as a temporary storage space for deceased individuals. The primary purpose of a morgue is to provide a space for bodies to be kept if an autopsy is required or if the body is unclaimed. It is an important part of the medical system and plays a crucial role in the investigation of deaths.

Mortuaries serve as versatile facilities that offer a range of services, including body storage, embalming, and direct cremation. While they differ from funeral homes, they are more than just temporary storage spaces. The primary purpose of a mortuary is to prepare the deceased for burial or cremation and provide temporary care until they are transported to a funeral home.