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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Default meaning of word "undertaker"

    Dear native speakers of English!
    Please help me! “In the sentence: Mr. N, owner of 14 gold mines in Eastern Siberia…, was known a gifted and talented undertaker, whose life was rich pleasant in and tragic events…” How do you understand the word “undertaker”: do you perceive it as a “one who undertakes; one who engages in any project or business; one who stipulates or covenants to perform any work for another” or “one whose business is the management of funerals”? My “freelance employer” asserts that it is in the first place “a person preparing the dead for funeral or cremation” and is mad at me. Please advise! Thank you in advance!
    Julia

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    Default Re: meaning of word "undertaker"

    I would interpret it as someone who deals with funeral arrangements. For business, you might want to use 'entrepreneur'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: meaning of word "undertaker"

    As TDOL said, In Britain an undertaker is a person who organizes funerals and prepares dead bodies for cremation or burial. However, in America, a person who does this is called a mortician, and they would consider an undertaker to be a person who takes the risk and management of business. A synonym would be an entrepreneur.
    It is pretty obvious that in the passage you quote the author is not referring to someone who arranges funerals, and it refers to him being an entrepreneur.

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