from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A published notice of a death, sometimes with a brief biography of the deceased.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A brief notice of a person’s death, as published in a newspaper.
  • n. A biography of a recently deceased person, written by a journalist and published in a newspaper.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the death of a person or persons
  • n. That which pertains to, or is called forth by, the obit or death of a person; esp., an account of a deceased person.
  • n. A notice of the death of a person, published in a newspaper or other periodical, accompanied by a biographical sketch which may be brief ro extended.
  • n. The section of a newspaper in which obituaries{2} are printed.
  • n. A list of the dead, or a register of anniversary days when service is performed for the dead.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or relating to the death of a person or persons: as, an obituary notice.
  • n. A list of the dead; also, a register of obitual anniversary days, when service is performed for the dead.
  • n. An account of persons deceased; notice of the death of a person, often accompanied with a brief biographical sketch.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a notice of someone's death; usually includes a short biography


Medieval Latin obituārius, (report) of death, from Latin obitus, death, from past participle of obīre, to meet, meet one's death : ob-, toward; see ob- + īre, to go; see ei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin obituarius, from Latin obitus ("a going to a place, approach, usually a going down, setting (as of the sun), fall, ruin, death"), from obire ("to go or come to, usually go down, set, fall, perish, die"), from ob ("toward, to") + ire ("to go"). (Wiktionary)



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  • One of the most interesting obituaries I've ever read.

    January 26, 2016

  • "Classifieds have imploded, local display ads are down, and black newsroom humor long ago re-labelled the Obituary column ‘Subscriber Countdown.’"
    - Clay Shirky, 'Last Call',, 19 Aug 2014.

    August 20, 2014

  • I always skip this section on the newspaper because it's depressing.

    October 1, 2010

  • Yesterday I heard a newsreader pronounce this as a bitchery. Which is not very nice at all :-(

    October 7, 2009

  • I do not have more definitive etymological information from Serbo Croatian but I find this mention from arl Darling Buck's A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in Principal Indo-European Languages University of Chicago Press page 133 section 2.82 (Family) number 6 to be interesting:

    Serbo-Croatian obitelj: Church Slavonic obiteli ‘dwelling’ (of monks), ‘monastery’, from obitati ‘dwell’

    The resemblance to obit is too startling for it not to merit further investigation?

    May 28, 2009