Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Funeral Definition:

Formal observances held for a deceased person, usually before burial or cremation.

Related Terms: Human Remains, Cremation, Corpse, Cadaver

In Graddy v Western Union Telegraph Company, the appellant sued the defendant for alleged negligence for the delivery of a telegram in which the death of the appellee's mother was announced; at least, not in time for him to attend her funeral. As such, the definition of the word funeral was relevant.

Justice Paynter of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky noted that funeral meant:

"... a rite or ceremony pertaining to a burial."

Using almost identical terms, Justice Woodward of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in People v. Ringe:

"(A) funeral is ... the disposition of the bodies of human beings after death, with the accompanying rites and ceremonies."


  • Graddy v Western Union Telegraph Company, 43 S.W. 468 (1897)
  • People v Ringe, 110 N.Y.S. 74 (1908)

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