Q: What did the Ancient Egyptian postman say to the boy?
A: “Hey, fellow, is your mummy home?”
Christmas-cracker-joke writers and unfunny uncles have long delighted in the double meanings of the word mummy. I thought about this coincidence a little recently with the release of the bland new Tom Cruise mummy film.
Unsurprisingly, there’s no link between mummy in the Ancient-Egyptian sense, and to refer to a mother. Mummy in the shambling-around-in-bandages sense is derived from the Persian word mūm which referred to both an embalmed corpse and the embalming substance involved in the process of mummification. The other sense of the word mummy though, I find much more interesting.