Spooky Word of the Week: Macabre

The spooky word of the week is “macabre.” It is an adjective meaning focused on death or the gruesome. For example, Edgar Allan Poe’s works could rightfully be described as macabre.

The word has a rich and complex history, including associations with the Black Plague during the middle ages. Perhaps you have heard the of the “Danse Macabre.” The danse macabre is an artistic allegory that portrays the concept that, well, everyone dies. Death is the great equalizer. In the late Middle Ages, this appeared in tapestries, etchings and paintings. The Plague killed so many people. It left its print on society and also its art. 

However…even more creepily…people were reputed to have actually danced (and done other things) in cemeteries during the Plague, as a form of rebellious defiance against death.

I have been fascinated with this word since I was a young girl. I wrote a paper about the origins of the word macabre in my senior year at Oberlin College.  In fact, I think that was the only “A” I got in college, which is pretty fitting for a spooky chick.

Check out this 30-second video about the word.



About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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