What Does Departed Mean?

The term “departed” is usually used as a euphemism for someone who has died or passed away. It is often used in obituaries, funeral announcements, and other formal or respectful contexts as a way to acknowledge the death of an individual without using more direct or blunt language. In some cases, “departed” may also be used to refer to someone who has left or moved away from a particular place or situation.

Origins of the Word

The word “departed” comes from the Old French word “departir,” which means “to divide, separate.” In Middle English, the word “depart” was used to refer to physical separation, such as leaving a place. Over time, the word’s meaning expanded to include other types of separation, including death.

Use in Obituaries

One of the most common uses of the term “departed” is in obituaries and other death notices. When someone dies, it can be difficult to find the right words to express the loss and grief that others are feeling. “Departed” is a term that is often used as a respectful and sensitive way to acknowledge that someone has passed away.

In obituaries, the term “departed” is often used in the headline or first sentence of the notice. For example, “John Smith, beloved father, and husband departed this world on February 14, 2023.” The use of the term “departed” in this context can help to soften the impact of the news, and also convey a sense of respect for the deceased.

Use in Religious and Spiritual Contexts

The term “departed” is also frequently used in religious and spiritual contexts. Many religions, such as Christianity, believe in an afterlife or some form of continuation of the soul after death. In these contexts, the term “departed” is often used as a way to refer to someone who has left this physical world and moved on to the next stage of existence.

For example, in the Christian tradition, the phrase “rest in peace” is often used as a way to express condolences and respect for the deceased. Similarly, the phrase “may his/her soul rest in peace” is a way of acknowledging that the person has passed away, but also expressing hope and belief in their continued existence in the afterlife.

Alternative Terms for Death

While “departed” is a common euphemism for death, there are many other terms that can be used to refer to someone who has passed away. Some of these include:

  • Passed away
  • Passed on
  • Passed into eternity
  • Deceased
  • Gone to be with the Lord
  • Went home to be with God

The choice of terminology often depends on cultural and religious traditions, as well as personal preferences. Some people may prefer more direct language when referring to death, while others may find euphemisms like “departed” to be more comforting or respectful.

Other Uses of “Departed”

While the term “departed” is most commonly used to refer to someone who has passed away, it can also be used in other contexts. For example, “departed” can be used to refer to someone who has left a particular location or situation.

In the context of travel, “departed” is often used to indicate that a flight or other transportation has left a particular location. For example, an airport departure board might display the status of a flight as “departed” once the plane has taken off.

Similarly, the term “departed” can be used in a work context to refer to someone who has left a job or position. For example, an email might announce that a colleague has “departed” the company to pursue other opportunities.


In conclusion, the term “departed” is a euphemism commonly used to refer to someone who has died. It is often used in obituaries and other respectful contexts to acknowledge the passing of an individual. While the term “departed” may not be appropriate for everyone, it can be a comforting way to express condolences and show respect for the deceased. Additionally, “departed” can also be used in other contexts to refer to leaving a particular place or situation, such as travel or work.

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