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From an unidentified western language, presumably from some language in the Islamosphere. Compare Persian مومیایی(mōmiyāyī, mūmiyāyī, mummy; shilajit) and مومنایی(mūmināyī, shilajit). A Western traveller (Engelbert Kaempfer) also encountered the latter in Persia in the 1680s.[1] Earliest attestation was in Ming Dynasty, see the following quote:

回回田地八十老人自願捨身濟眾飲食便國人石棺滿鐫志歲月棺蓋啟封……蜜人木乃伊 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
回回田地八十老人自愿舍身济众饮食便国人石棺镌志岁月棺盖启封……蜜人木乃伊 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: 明‧陶宗儀《輟耕錄‧木乃伊》 ('Tao Zongyi (Ming Dynasty), "Chuogenglu - Record after retiring from plowing", Chapter "Mummies")
Huíhuí tiándì yǒu nián qī bāshí suì lǎorén, zìyuàn shěshēn jìzhòng zhě, jué bù yǐnshí, wéi zǎo shēn dàn mì, jīng yuè, biàn nì jiē mì. Jì sǐ, guórén liàn yǐ shíguān, réng mǎn yòng mì jìn, juānzhì suìyuè yú guāngài, yì zhī. Sì bǎi nián qǐfēng, zé mì jì yě...... Sú yuē mìrén, fān yán mùnǎiyī. [Pinyin]
There were men 70 to 80 years of age in Arabia (?) willing to give their bodies to save others. They never ate or drink, only bathed and partook of honey. After a month, their excrement (urine and faeces) consisted of honey only. After they died, their fellow men would place them in stone coffins full of honey in which they macerated. The year and month of deaths were engraved on the coffins and the coffins were buried. After a hundred years the coffins were reopened - a confection of honey had formed. Colloquially people called these "mellified men", in their native tongue "munaiyi".

See also "Mellified men" on Wikipedia. Other transliterations include:

all of which might have referred to Shilajit (地蠟地蜡 (dìlà)) originally.




  1. mummy (embalmed corpse)


  1. ^ Sir William Ouseley (1821), Travels in Various Countries of the East; More Particularly Persia. Rodley and Martin, Vol. 2, p. 478 Google Books


Japanese Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia ja
English Wikipedia has an article on:
木乃伊 (mīra): a mummy on display at the Louvre.
Kanji in this term
Grade: 1 Jinmeiyō Jinmeiyō

Alternative formsEdit


From Portuguese mirra (myrrh, skeleton, mummy)[1][2][3][4] or Dutch mirre (myrrh).[1]

The kanji spelling 木乃伊 is an example of jukujikun. This spelling was borrowed from Chinese 木乃伊 (mùnǎiyī, mummy)[1][4][2][5]. Some Japanese sources[1][4][2][5] suggest that the Chinese term was a transliteration of Dutch mummie (with some stated concern that this derivation is doubtful[5]), but it appears that the Dutch and Chinese terms are unrelated. See the Chinese entry for more.



木乃伊 (hiragana みいら, katakana ミイラ, rōmaji mīra)

  1. a mummy, deliberately preserved, such as those found in the ancient tombs of Egypt or China
  2. a human or animal corpse mummified naturally, such as in a peat bog or desert

Derived termsEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1995, 大辞泉 (Daijisen) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, →ISBN
  3. ^ 1998, 広辞苑 (Kōjien), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten, →ISBN
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  6. ^ 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  7. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN