From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica_Lake#Death

Lake died on July 7, 1973, of hepatitis and acute renal failure (complications of her alcoholism) in Burlington, Vermont's Fletcher Allen Hospital.[35][36] Her son, Michael, claimed her body.

What does "claimed her body" mean?

  • 2
    He asserted his right as next-of-kin to dispose of her physical remains. Sep 27, 2013 at 10:06
  • 1
    @StoneyB "next-of-kin"? Could you explain that in a simple English? I am an English language learner not a native English speaker.
    – Derfder
    Sep 27, 2013 at 10:08
  • @Derfder It means either being a son, a daughter or adopted child. Which is first degree relative to the person. Note: In most countries adopted children doesn't count as next-of-kin. While in some countries with advanced laws counts. Sep 27, 2013 at 10:21
  • 2
    As @BerkerYüceer says. "Next" is literally "nearest"; "kin" is "family", cognate with Latin gens; so next-of-kin is the person most closely related, as the law defines those relationships. Sep 27, 2013 at 10:26
  • 1
    @Derfder No; the statement does not mean that he identified the body but that he claimed the right to decide what would be done with it - burial or cremation or donation to science or whatever - and by whom. Sep 27, 2013 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


"Claiming" an object (like a body, or a lost item) means telling someone that it is yours. Claiming a body means that a relative or other person of someone who has died takes charge of the body for burial or cremation. This is usually done by the person's close relatives (spouse, children), but the person can also specify someone in her will to make the arrangements, or a government authority might do so in special cases.

This passage is saying that Veronica's son Michael went to the hospital and took her body away for the funeral.

  • 3
    Well, more likely it means that her son Michael arranged for a funeral home to take her body away for the funeral (our society tends to frown on people stuffing dead bodies into their vehicles). This probably involved Michael going to the hospital and filling out some paperwork, and going to the funeral home and filling out some paperwork and paying some money.
    – Martha
    Sep 27, 2013 at 14:16

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