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From resurrection (the act of rising from the dead and becoming alive again) +‎ -ist (forms agents of cause; forms adherents of a belief), coined alongside resurrection man.


resurrectionist (plural resurrectionists)

  1. (euphemistic, historical) One who sells cadavers to anatomists, surgeons, etc., especially by exhuming corpses from graves; a graverobber.
    • 1777, Ann. Reg. 1776, 129
      One... who makes open profession of dealing in dead bodies and is well known by the name of the Resurrectionist.
  2. (religion) A believer in a future bodily resurrection.
    • 1830, A. Addis, Theory of Prophecy, Prol. p.xliv
      Those who make the rest of the dead... to be the same with the remnant slain by the sword... to be consistent, ought to make the first resurrectionists the same with the armies in heaven.
  3. One who resurrects an abandoned idea, practice, etc.; a revivalist.
    • 1831, New Monthly Magazine, 32 362
      We have no taste for enacting the part of literary resurrectionists.
    • 2007 September 3, Variety, 67
      Bank is a theatrical resurrectionist: His New York-based company... specializes in unearthing and staging ‘neglected but worthy’ works.
  4. (humorous, obsolete) One who sells repaired or reconditioned goods; a refurbisher.
    • 1888 July, Longman's Magazine, 256
      Some of the habitual buyers [of ostrich feathers] have nicknames, and those who do a local business and buy for re-selling are known as ‘resurrectionists’.
  5. (horses, humorous, obsolete) A racehorse that (once or numerously) suddenly recovers its stamina midrace.
    • 1883 October 23, Standard, 3/2
      There is a class of horses called ‘resurrectionists’... and they either recover early form... or... become animated, when they were supposed to be gone altogether, with... life and vigour.