The title may sound like a bad horror movie, but it's a legitimate etymological connection. Our word sarcophagus comes from French sarcophage, from Latin sarcophagus, from Greek sarkophagos, which meant "a coffin, particularly made of limestone", a type documented by Pliny the Elder. However, sarkophagos previously meant "carnivorous" or "flesh eating". This is very creepy but had nothing to do with mummies rising; in fact, the coffin type was so named because it was commonly believed that in limestone, bodies decay more quickly, and within a couple of weeks, all the flesh would be eaten away. Thus, we can trace this further to sarx, meaning "meat" or "flesh", and phagein, or "to eat". Also present in sarcasm, sarx goes back to the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European word twerk, or "to cut" (as in dining). Phagein is also PIE, tracing to the zero-grade bhhg, or "to divide" (as in dining). Additionally, usage of sarcophagus peaked in the 1870s, when they were discovering a bunch of them. So many interesting origins, so little time.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy philosophy, trivia, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.