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Cemetery Glossary

Cemetery Terms That Are Important to Know

During the entire funeral process, whether pre-planning your funeral or coordinating graveside services for a deceased loved one, it’s important to know some of the terminology that’s used in cemetery settings. Here are just a few of the common terms you might hear.

Disposition refers to the manner in which human remains are finally handled which usually means either Burial or Cremation.


Burial refers to ground placement of your loved one, generally in a casket or placement inside of a crypt or mausoleum above ground.


Cremation is the process of reducing the body to cremains through the application of intense heat with the remains being placed in an urn for permanent containment once complete.

A grave is any space in the ground of a cemetery where a human body is buried; cremated remains may also be buried in a grave. A graveside service, meanwhile, refers to the service that commemorates the deceased, held at the cemetery prior to burial.

A casket or coffin refers to the decorative enclosure that’s used for holding, viewing, and transporting the body of a deceased person. An urn, meanwhile, is the decorative vessel that’s utilized for storing and transporting cremated remains. A vault is the cover that completely encloses a casket within its grave.

When we speak of interment, we’re referencing burial in the ground, or possibly entombment. When we speak of inurnment, however, we mean the placing of cremated remains within the urn.

Entombment is burial within a mausoleum.


A mausoleum, in turn, is a building in which human remains are buried—typically placed into compartments or crypts. A crypt is the space for human remains, while a niche is the space used to hold an urn.

Note also the term green burial, which refers to a form of burial that prohibits the use of embalming chemicals and non-biodegradable caskets. Today, many cemeteries come with designated green burial areas.

If you have a question about these or any other cemetery terms and how they pertain to the permanent memorial you are organizing, don’t hesitate to ask any of our Family Services professionals, they will be happy to provide key insights into our cemetery and the final resting process.

Contact Historic Hollywood Cemetery today. 

Our Historic Hollywood Cemetery professionals will be happy to assist you with anything from selecting cemetery property to ordering a monument or marker. We are here to help every step of the way.


Contact us today 713-227-5109 or email us at to get started.

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