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Morgue

a dead-house, is generally associated with mors (death). but this is a blunder, as the word means visage, and was first applied to prison vestibules, where new criminals were placed to be scrutinised, that the prison officials might become familiar with their faces and general appearance.

“On me conduit donc an petit chastelet, où du guichet estant passé dans la morgue, un homme gros, court, et carrié, vint à moy.” —Assoucy: La Prison. de M. Dassouch (1674), p. 35.

“Morgue. Endroit où l'on tient quelque temps ceux que l'on ecroue, afin que les guichetiers puissent les reconnaltre ensuit.” —Fleming and Tibbins, vol. ii. p. 688.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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