Necrophilia is the act of engaging in intercourse– I'm looking for something milder. Maybe even just someone who is attracted to those who have passed. Cobain or Monroe, for example.

closed as unclear what you're asking by user66974, anongoodnurse, ermanen, Drew, tchrist Dec 19 '14 at 4:52

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  • @Mitch HOW DARE YOU. Just Kidding. No, I prefer my bodies warm. – wbk Dec 18 '14 at 19:01
  • Attracted in what way? How about historian, anthropologist? I realize these are not what you're after, but they, in some way, fit the criteria you've listed. Can you refine your criteria to get at what you are really interested in? – Jim Dec 18 '14 at 19:05
  • @Jim You just said "I realize these are not what you're after". I have a sneaking suspicion that you know exactly what I'm trying to figure out but, like me, do know the word. – wbk Dec 18 '14 at 19:12
  • I'm not sure there IS a single word for this, at least not a common one. – Barmar Dec 18 '14 at 19:23
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    Necrophilia is not the act of engaging in intercourse. – pazzo Dec 19 '14 at 5:44

It's a bit of a stretch, but necromaniac could be a possibility.

A pyromaniac is a lover of/has an obsession with fire.

A nymphomaniac is a lover of/has an obsession with sex.

A parsinomaniac is a lover of/has an obsession with puns and wordplay.

And so forth...

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    This might be an obsession with death in general, not dead people. – Barmar Dec 18 '14 at 19:23
  • Not necessarily. For example, thanatophobia is the fear of death, while necrophobia more specifically includes the fear of the dead. – Roger Dec 18 '14 at 19:29
  • Necromania is a synonym to necrophilia. – ermanen Dec 18 '14 at 19:52
  • @ermanen Shout is a synonym for speak. It's a matter of degrees. – Roger Dec 18 '14 at 19:55
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    @ermanen Using words interchangeably is a far cry from being "exactly the same", especially when considering connotations, which is a critical consideration when choosing words. The sexual connotations make necrophilia exceedingly DIFFERENT than the more generally used necromania. – ScotM Dec 18 '14 at 20:35

If you wish to eliminate the erotic connotations of necrophilia, which would technically suit the purpose of your general idea, then the alternate necromania would probably work sufficiently. If you are willing to coin a new word, necrolexi would suit perfectly. It's a close call; all three could work, but necromania would probably be the best combination of accuracy to your idea and connotation for a general audience.

Of course, the root necro ties all three words to death and corpses by its connection to the Greek nekros.

In the Greek, the basic meaning of philia is "fondness or affection", and there is no erotic connection, (The Greek word eros was used for that notion.) Necrophilia was introduced into the English language as a medical term to describe a psychological disturbance which included an erotic element, but non-erotic attraction is included too. The erotic connotation has been overly emphasized in popular culture.

The Greek mania, on the other hand, is a "frenzy", which has been generalized by its common usage into an "obsession". Technically, necromania is an obsession with death in general, so it is not limited to corpses, but it would be an acceptable use of that word.

The Greek elexi is the direct translation of "attraction", but there is no common current usage of "necrolexi" in modern English. If you are speaking to a group with a technical interest in the idea, it may be worth coining a new word.

  • Yes, they have a broadly overlapping semantic field. – ScotM Dec 18 '14 at 20:03

If you are looking for the way people are obsessed with Cobain, Monroe, JFK, Elvis, I would be inclined toward "idolatry", "celebrity-worship" or "hagiomania" for a noun or "idolize" for a verb.

  • Along the lines of "idolize", I'd throw "hagiofacture" in there as well. – WAF Dec 18 '14 at 22:03
  • hagiofacture is right on! – ScotM Dec 18 '14 at 22:14

A milder term would be obsession with dead celebrities.

  • Mm, I want it specifically to mean "towards dead people", almost as if they are sacred relics. – wbk Dec 18 '14 at 19:02

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