Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 382 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GRAVE. (I) (From a common Teutonic verb, meaning " to dig "; in O. Eng. grafan; cf. Dutch graven, Ger. graben), a place dug out of the earth in which a dead body is laid for burial, and hence any place of burial, not necessarily an excavation (see FUNERAL RITES and BURIAL). The verb " to grave," meaning properly to dig, is particularly used of the making of incisions in a hard surface (see ENGRAVING). (2) A title, now obsolete, of a local administrative official for a township in certain parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire; it also sometimes appears in the form " grieve," which in Scotland and Northumberland is used for sheriff (q.v.), and also for a bailiff or under-steward. The origin of the word is obscure, but it is probably connected with the German graf, count, and thus appears as the second part of many Teutonic titles, such as landgrave, burgrave and margrave. " Grieve," on the other hand, seems to be the northern representative of O.E. gerefa, reeve; cf. " sheriff " and " count." (3) (From the Lat. gravis, heavy), weighty, serious, particularly with the idea of dangerous, as applied to diseases and the like, of character or temperament as opposed to gay. It is also applied to sound, low or deep, and is thus opposed to " acute." In music the term is adopted from the French and Italian, and applied to a movement which is solemn or slow. (4) To clean a ship's bottom in a specially constructed dock, called a " graving dock." The origin of the word is obscure; according to the New English Dictionary there is no foundation for the connexion with " greaves " or " graves," the refuse of tallow, in candle or soap-making, supposed to be used in " graving " a ship. It may be connected with an O. Fr. grave, mod. grbve, shore.
End of Article: GRAVE

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