"the act of disinterring that which has been buried," especially a dead body, 1670s, probably via French exhumation, from Medieval Latin exhumationem (nominative exhumatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of exhumare "to unearth" (see exhume). In earliest use often in a French context.
In France, the exhumation of a dead body is order'd, upon proof that he was killed in a duel.—By the French laws, a parson has a right to demand the exhumation of the body of one of his parishioners, when interred out of the parish without his consent. [Chambers' "Cyclopaedia," 1741]
updated on August 18, 2020