Definition of obituary in English:



  • A notice of a death, especially in a newspaper, typically including a brief biography of the deceased person.

    ‘the obituary of a friend’
    [as modifier] ‘an obituary notice’
    • ‘He also does not want a memorial service or even an obituary in the newspaper.’
    • ‘This letter contained an obituary notice and some psychotic ramblings.’
    • ‘The nature of my employment is such that I am sometimes called upon to sub-edit obituaries for the next day's paper.’
    • ‘It began with an obituary and a reporter's talk with a grieving family.’
    • ‘When this guy dies, he's going to receive ten obituaries on the front page of the Times.’
    • ‘We respected the wishes of Patricia's friends, who wrote the obituary as they saw fit.’
    • ‘Everyone knows that major newspapers hold obituaries written well in advance of the deaths of notable people.’
    • ‘Alongside is her name in black bold square print - the kind used in obituary notices.’
    • ‘This was the obituary notice that appeared in the paper regarding his death.’
    • ‘Are you worried about the future glut of obituaries in national newspapers?’
    • ‘Newspaper obituary columns are changing but they are essentially respectful of the dead.’
    • ‘The obituaries have been written for Scotland's textile industry so many times that it would be easy to believe the sector no longer exists.’
    • ‘One of the regulars was the man who walked around the town pasting large posters on the walls, usually obituary notices.’
    • ‘The Warwickshire captain is used to reading his obituary notice in the columns of the national newspapers.’
    • ‘Some have doubtless already written their heavyweight obituaries about the man with the dodgy chin who was the best of a bad bunch.’
    • ‘How do you write a decent obituary when the corpse-to-be is doing such a good job of it himself?’
    • ‘When I got home, I scanned newspapers and teletext looking for his obituary.’
    • ‘Every day that passes sees the obituary columns of broadsheet newspapers bring us more examples.’
    • ‘In the newspaper the following day his contact was in the obituary section, seems he had died of an overdose.’
    • ‘We need to know the year of birth and exact date of death of the deceased, and we prefer obituaries to state the cause of death.’
    death notice, eulogy
    necrology, necrologue
    View synonyms


Early 18th century: from medieval Latin obituarius, from Latin obitus death from obit- perished from the verb obire.