When you see your mysterious neighbor digging around in his backyard, you may wonder if he’s trying to exhume something. Chances are he’s only digging up potatoes — when you exhume something, it means you’re digging up a corpse.

The word exhume traces back to the Latin word exhumare, a combination of ex-, meaning “out of,” and humus, or “ground.” That meaning holds true today: when you exhume something, you dig it up out of the ground. The word almost always applies to the removing of a previously buried corpse, such as law enforcement officials who exhume a body to perform an autopsy or collect evidence related to an investigation.

Definitions of exhume
  1. verb
    dig up for reburial or for medical investigation; of dead bodies
    synonyms: disinter
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    type of:
    dig up, excavate, turn up
    find by digging in the ground
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