Main definitions of die in English

: die1die2



  • 1(of a person, animal, or plant) stop living.

    ‘he died of tuberculosis’
    ‘trees are dying from acid rain’
    [with object] ‘the king died a violent death’
    • ‘Men attempted to claw their way out, perhaps asking themselves how they ended up in such a remote location, dying the loneliest of deaths.’
    • ‘My father died from mineworkers' pneumoconiosis and my father-in-law died of emphysema.’
    • ‘The doctor asked what his mother had died of, and Sixty Five told him that she had died from an aneurism at 52.’
    • ‘His family have put up the first posters in their campaign to stop other children dying from solvent abuse.’
    • ‘Thirty thousand children were already dying needless deaths daily.’
    • ‘He went on to say that there is a difference between dying from cancer and living with cancer.’
    • ‘As soon as flowers die, cut back plants to 6 inches from the soil level.’
    • ‘Mr Bates died of hypothermia and emphysema, while Mrs Bates died from coronary heart disease.’
    • ‘The fish farmers had to stop their activities, as their fish and shrimp died from the pollution.’
    • ‘This scheme failed because most of the trees died from lack of moisture.’
    • ‘She would have died a normal death otherwise within a couple days of her collapse in 1990.’
    • ‘An elderly woman and a pet dog died in a head-on collision on the A19 today.’
    • ‘Thousands of children dying horrible deaths because the American people chose to wallow in apathy.’
    • ‘John collapsed and died of a brain haemorrhage in the kitchen of the house in Southampton after a night out with friends.’
    • ‘An announcement was made that a Siamese cat had died of a spongiform encephalopathy.’
    • ‘The veterinarian cooperated and at least for the record stated that the cow had died of natural causes.’
    • ‘Oxfam, to take one example, pay less because they're doing a serious job in the scrag-ends of the planet to stop people from dying from extreme dehydration.’
    • ‘So dinosaurs died from allergic reactions to these new, poisonous intruders.’
    • ‘In fact, I can't recall any account of an oak tree actually dying from old age; it may be that they go on and on, changing form and surviving until some accident destroys them.’
    • ‘How many people have seen a fox dying from lead shot poisoning?’
    pass away, pass on, lose one's life, depart this life, expire, breathe one's last, draw one's last breath, meet one's end, meet one's death, lay down one's life, be no more, perish, be lost, go the way of the flesh, go the way of all flesh, go to glory, go to one's last resting place, go to meet one's maker, cross the great divide, cross the styx
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Become extinct.
      ‘many species died out’
      • ‘About 30% of livestock breeds are close to extinction, and at least one breed of traditional livestock dies out every week’
      • ‘The biologist said the rare type of red squirrel was important because more genetically diverse species were less likely to die out.’
      • ‘So much for the claim that the Irish language is dying out.’
      • ‘This will be in the same way that species die out if they do not physically adapt to events and their environment.’
      • ‘In every county in Britain, common wild flowers are becoming scarcer, while scarce species may be dying out altogether.’
      • ‘The traditional whisky market is literally dying out.’
      • ‘The quilt symbolizes the need to preserve the country's folk art, which is in danger of dying out.’
      • ‘Currently we are living through the largest species extinction event since the Dinosaurs died out.’
      • ‘However, due to climate changes and other pressures, many species began to die out.’
      • ‘They are dying out because the wild flowers on which their caterpillars feed are being killed off by farmers, landowners and foresters.’
      • ‘Soon, if that trade isn't stopped, some species could die out altogether, said Prof Roberts.’
      • ‘Isn't it a pity some of our oldest traditions are dying out?’
      • ‘They attract an older clientele and they are dying out.’
      • ‘Natural capital can clearly be depreciated when, for example, a non-renewable resource such as oil is used up, or when a species dies out, or when air pollution increases.’
      • ‘Hittite, for example, died out when its civilisation disappeared in Old Testament times.’
      • ‘Those with a scientific background of botany should take up a detailed study of endangered plant species to determine why they are dying out.’
      • ‘Languages are like lifeforms; when one dies out, a lifeform has become extinct.’
      • ‘Scots are dying out, and unless we can reverse the decline in our population we are entering the early years of the final, great Clearance of Scotland.’
      • ‘But this is the first time that a species which completely died out in Britain has been reintroduced.’
      • ‘In the intervening period there was a host of different hominid species, many of which died out.’
      become extinct, vanish, disappear, cease to be, cease to exist, be no more, perish, pass into oblivion
      become less common, become rarer, dwindle, peter out
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Be forgotten.
      ‘her genius has assured her name will never die’
    3. 1.3[with adverbial]Become less loud or strong.
      ‘after a while, the noise died down’
      ‘at last the storm died away’
      • ‘Antiwar demonstrations have died down, but the nude protest idea seems to have caught on.’
      • ‘It seems to have died down now that the song's popularity has waned.’
      • ‘The hype has died down, and the MFSA appears to think that its job is done.’
      • ‘After the song died down, there was a loud applause and a lot of cheers from the crowd.’
      • ‘Just as you think that the threat has died down, then an attack like this happens.’
      • ‘A week later, once my bruising had died down, I obtained a new photocard and handed in the form to report the loss and claim a replacement.’
      • ‘As the hysteria died down, a deep gloom fell over America which was to last over two months.’
      • ‘The family fled, returning to Kabul in early 1996 when fighting died down.’
      • ‘But that controversy had hardly died down when we had another and even better example.’
      • ‘On Friday, even as the fighting had died down, it was still impossible to enter the camp to check the stories we had heard.’
      • ‘The only rival is the slowly dying influence of ‘metaphysical’ verse of the English Renaissance.’
      • ‘The controversy has apparently not died down as many people raise the issue as a topic of discussion on the Internet.’
      • ‘It all died down, but not before leaving Amir's already fragile temperament somewhat more frayed.’
      • ‘Friday was a bit of a false start as the contractions, if that is indeed what they were died away on Saturday.’
      • ‘There are some simple facts here that make this case totally irrelevant to the future of digital media, merely the dying influence of outmoded copyright law.’
      • ‘When the fuss died down, the Charnock forward scored from the spot to take them 2-1 up.’
      • ‘By the time the laughter died down, 11 people needed treatment for tear gas inhalation.’
      • ‘Brook took herself off to America until all the fuss died down.’
      • ‘The night sky was lit up in the distance by lightning, but the winds had died down and the rain no longer fell.’
      • ‘If you are thinking of going wait till the frenzy has died down.’
      abate, subside, drop, drop off, drop away, fall away, lessen, let up, decrease, diminish, moderate, decline, fade, dwindle, slacken, recede, tail off, peter out, taper off, wane, ebb, relent, become weaker, weaken, come to an end
      fade, fall away, dwindle, melt away, dissolve, subside, decline, sink, lapse, ebb, wane, wilt, wither, evanesce, come to an end, end, vanish, disappear
      fall away, dwindle, melt away, subside, ebb, wane, come to an end
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4(of a plant) decay from the tip toward the root.
      ‘rhubarb dies back to a crown of buds each winter’
      • ‘To harvest potatoes for storage, wait until the plants have died back completely.’
      • ‘But grasses are poor fodder: tough, low in nutrients, high in tooth-destroying silicates, and dying back to the roots in cold weather.’
      • ‘A herbaceous perennial, this plant dies back at the end of summer and remains dormant until late winter when leaves gradually begin to break through the surface of the soil and unfurl.’
      • ‘Their above-ground parts die back, but their roots overwinter, and the plants resprout in the spring.’
      • ‘In Texas' mild winter climate, sometimes only the lemongrass foliage dies back while the roots remain healthy.’
      • ‘The plants will begin to die back by February or March, when they will be ‘flailed’ and the ground will be fertilised ready for next year's crop.’
      • ‘This is a funny time of year in the garden with many plants dying back and everything tending to look rather messy and damp.’
      • ‘While out digging, put in a few patches of winter pansies or a clump of ornamental cabbages to give a little brightness as other plants finally die back or lose their leaves.’
      • ‘As the flowers die the stems become woody and the blooms dry while the foliage dies back and the plant takes on its winter form.’
      • ‘Herbaceous plants that are dying back may be prone to fungal attack and can look awful, but don't be too hasty.’
    5. 1.5Die one after another until few or none are left.
      ‘the original founders died off or retired’
      • ‘We will leave the flowers until they have died off completely and then remove them.’
      • ‘As aging Brazil-nut trees die off, they will not be replaced.’
      • ‘Since there are not enough males and females to propagate the race, both families eventually die off.’
      • ‘After blooming in the spring, allow the plants to grow until they die off.’
      • ‘While the language has lost 6,000 speakers in the past 10 years - mainly by older Gaels dying off - its numbers have been boosted by greater numbers of young people learning the language at school.’
      • ‘Be sure to thoroughly saturate underneath the leaves as well as top surfaces, and repeat every day for at least three or four days until most of the colony has died off.’
      • ‘‘Our volunteers are finding far too often that the colleagues they are sharing and developing skills with are dying off around them,’ said VSO chief executive Mark Goldring.’
      • ‘It sounds like he's hoping that we'll all die off soon and end the arguments.’
      • ‘Adding to the problem of declining numbers is that a lot of old horsemen have been dying off, and their sons have decided not to carry on.’
      • ‘It's been said that the World War II generation is dying off at the rate of a thousand souls a day.’
      • ‘First, management has to give up the naive notion that it can survive by simply holding on until the retiree base begins dying off later this decade.’
      • ‘‘As younger physicians don't stay or start new practices, and older doctors are retiring or dying off, those of us in the middle are asked to do more and more,’ declares Ruben.’
      • ‘I've known them all my adult life, all these people, and they're already dying off and my turn will come of course along with everyone else.’
      • ‘Sadly a recession in trade followed and with the old soldiers dying off we couldn't stay open.’
      • ‘But time goes by, and your friends start getting older and dying off one by one, and you just start realizing life isn't that precious.’
      • ‘This mechanism also would explain why post-Soviet males are dying off at such young ages.’
      • ‘I am reminded of so many prominent investigations where witnesses start to die off just before they are to testify.’
      • ‘But that generation is really dying off or retiring.’
      • ‘Until they die off, I fear we'll have little chance of being taken seriously.’
      • ‘Andrew Neil as publisher would be a blessing for the Telegraph, worried that its purchasers, often as old as the Conservative Party's average member, are dying off.’
    6. 1.6(of a fire or light) stop burning or gleaming.
      ‘the fire had died and the room was cold’
      • ‘I am left alone, to wake and guard, until the seven fires die, and the fire in the pit also goes out.’
      • ‘After the Wolfman does his ring walk, an electrical circuit trips and the lights die.’
      • ‘The fires are dying; other figures are spotted, hard to distinguish amongst the wisps of vapour that drift across the scene.’
      • ‘The fire started to die, and the shadows were getting creepy, especially the shadows around Desi's face.’
      • ‘When the flame died, we poured a measure of water equal to the amount of absinthe into the glass.’
      • ‘When the flames have died, pour in the dry sherry then the cream.’
      • ‘When the last of the natural light had died I heard Mathias' voice boom out through the night sky like the last guest trying to hail a cab home.’
      • ‘Luckily the flames die down leaving a soggy mess of paper and cloth.’
      • ‘We watched the sunlight dying, hugging each other close in the crisp cool air.’
      • ‘Give the skillet a good shake or three to get everything mixed together after the flames die down.’
      • ‘The mile long rip in the canopy was still visible, though the flames had died long ago.’
      • ‘The fire had begun to die down and Sei could fell the room growing colder.’
      • ‘As the fire dies down, a cuckoo fills the forest with its unmistakable call.’
      • ‘Toward the end of his life the fiery disdain of his youth died to warm embers.’
      • ‘My quarters were cold and dark, the flames in the hearth having died to a small pile of glowing embers.’
      • ‘As the daylight died, the shadows came to life and began to prowl about the hedges and corners of houses.’
      • ‘When the flames finally died, the two warriors were nothing more than charred ashes.’
      • ‘The flame died and I squished the roach with the end of the lighter just to make sure he was dead.’
      • ‘The fire had died to a pile of small, glowing coals that scattered into a shower of sparks when I threw a pair of logs in.’
      • ‘Over the next few days, after the Yule log has died to an ember, we will attempt to clarify those hard choices for readers.’
    7. 1.7informal (of a machine) stop functioning or run out of electric charge.
      ‘three toasters have died on me’
      ‘I was halfway through a text message when the phone died’
      • ‘In the first race in the Chase, at New Hampshire, he had a strong car and led before his engine died.’
      • ‘The engine died as he pulled into the spot and the transmission made a horrible, grinding noise as he shifted into park.’
      • ‘The engine died, and the two of them arose from their seats and opened the door into the rear area of the ship.’
      • ‘I had to reformat once when I installed the wrong soundcard drivers and again when I tried to install SP2 and it died on me.’
      • ‘Now if your fan dies or you forget to use thermal grease under your leaf blower your CPU will burst into flames in 8 seconds.’
      • ‘If your engine dies in your car, you slow down and stop.’
      • ‘I took a deep breath and pulled over to park, but before I did the engine just died.’
      fail, cut out, give out, stop, halt, break down, stop working, cease to function
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Be very eager for something.

    ‘they must be dying for a drink’
    [with infinitive] ‘he's dying to meet you’
    • ‘Just before we reached the airport I smiled at the driver and told him I was dying to know what was going on.’
    • ‘I probably could have got a job with a computer company, but I was dying to go back to cooking, to restaurants.’
    • ‘While we are all dying to get out, there is one who died to get in.’
    • ‘I was dying to ask Kath these vital questions, but I decided discretion was the better part of valour.’
    • ‘They were dying to see the new horror film that everyone was talking about, The Exorcist.’
    • ‘I was dying to ask for a photo but I just lost my nerve.’
    • ‘I woke up earlier than I wanted to (I was dying to sleep in since I haven't had a chance to do so in ages) but that's okay.’
    • ‘They were dying to see Ashanti, yet word along the grapevine was that she was no great performer.’
    • ‘I knew you were dying to ask me that important question.’
    • ‘Actually, I ran out to conduct a chair lift demonstration for our salesman M.K. and his buddies who were dying to see how the whole set-up worked.’
    • ‘It is typical of Plazas's professionalism and realism that she is reluctant to advertise a wish list of roles she is dying to tackle.’
    • ‘She couldn't stop smiling, as if she had a secret she was dying to tell.’
    • ‘We haven't seen each other in a few years, and I'm dying for her to meet Leta.’
    • ‘I got tired of eating Chinese food and was dying to eat something different so I decided to go to a pizza shop behind my hotel.’
    • ‘They were dying to know what it was going to look like, first off.’
    • ‘Worse than all that, though, is having to seduce women when he's dying inside for a man.’
    • ‘I'm sure they were just dying for the opportunity to come clean and acknowledge their guilt.’
    • ‘‘But I was dying to find our more, so seeing the lid was missing I thought I'd risk a quick peek,’ he said.’
    • ‘She was dying to know what I'd been typing for so many hours and stayed up last night reading the whole thing.’
    • ‘High-pressured adrenaline congested my veins and I was dying to release it.’
    be very eager, be very keen, be desperate, long, yearn, burn, ache, itch
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Used to emphasize how strongly one is affected by a particular feeling or emotion.
      ‘only the thought of Matilda prevented him from dying of boredom’
      ‘we nearly died laughing when he told us’
      • ‘Did you know I nearly died when I saw him standing in front of me and asking me to dance?’
      • ‘But inwardly I was dying of curiosity about Nellie's sudden trip.’
      • ‘Dancing in time was harder still, and when Tristian partnered me, I nearly died of sheer panic.’
      • ‘I nearly died, as I thought it would be included in web diary but not so prominently.’
      • ‘The kinder, gentler Parrot is dull and many of his listeners on 2GB must be dying of boredom.’
      • ‘Then she calls him a blame shifter and then screams for a time out and I nearly died laughing.’
      • ‘I nearly died laughing, while my mother tried to convince me it would not be dreadful.’
      • ‘It's so beautiful, I feel as if I'm dying of happiness.’
      • ‘Jillian must have nearly died or had a laugh attack when she heard that name!’
      • ‘I remember drinking with a friend who was wearing a Golden Bear polo shirt; well, I mean, I nearly died.’
      • ‘When I arrived at work in London this morning I nearly died to find my desk piled with post.’
      • ‘It looked funny enough, but when Natascia realised it was me, she nearly died laughing!’
      • ‘I had a look at the Gleaner's cartoon just now and I nearly died laughing!’
      • ‘The ladies' chorus had tears streaming down their faces and Julie, the inadvertent stripper, was slowly dying of embarrassment.’
  • 3archaic Have an orgasm.


  • die a (or the) death

    • informal Come to an end; cease or fail to be popular or successful.

      ‘the craze for cycling shorts is dying a death’
      • ‘The second period wasn't dire in comparison to the first, but the game was in danger of dying a death after the interval.’
      • ‘The issue would probably have died a death by now.’
      • ‘Trying something more practical, officials hoped the shack could make way for a new doctor's surgery - but the plan died a death.’
      • ‘He was wrong, of course, and others who followed in his wake have lived to see their own prophecies of a royal-free Britain dying the death.’
      • ‘Our data shows that, far from dying a death, the package holiday is experiencing something of a renaissance.’
      • ‘But by then British patriotism had died the death and as the cynics say: ‘You get the history you deserve’.’
      • ‘In the election campaign, the reform agenda is already dying a death - it will briefly spring to life with the Labour manifesto launch, but will not be a campaign theme.’
      • ‘I hope it will as it will help the town in general because this side of town is dying a death at the moment.’
      • ‘One lawyer said: ‘He was a dreadful after-dinner speaker and he was dying a death when he started telling the joke.’’
      • ‘Early dreams have died a death, millions of pounds and dollars have been squandered by greedy leaders and just as many lives have been lost in a series of useless internecine wars.’
  • die hard

    • Disappear or change very slowly.

      ‘old habits die hard’
      • ‘Despite the bar on discrimination, old habits die hard and the Scheduled Castes are the hardest hit.’
      • ‘Despite the assurances given at that time, the state bureaucratic delays continue as if to prove the truth of the adage that old habits die hard.’
      • ‘Old habits die hard and until the 1950s Australian cooking was synonymous with British food.’
      • ‘But old habits die hard: pounds and ounces have been around for centuries.’
      • ‘The BBC's online news service this week proved that old newsgathering habits die hard - even in cyberspace.’
      • ‘But old habits die hard and Ronnie still delivers to his 250 to 300 customers seven days a week.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's a good thing that old habits die hard.’
      • ‘A lot of students keep their computers turned on all the time when they live in residence and old habits die hard in later years.’
      • ‘But old habits die hard, and invariably, after a short time things will slide.’
      • ‘His adultery could be a constant, desperate search for love, or just an old habit that dies hard.’
  • die in bed

    • Undergo death from natural causes.

      • ‘While Charles II died in bed, his father had his head chopped off.’
      • ‘Politicians in modern liberal democracies confidently expect to die in bed.’
      • ‘He himself eliminated most of his wartime colleagues and survived to die in bed.’
      • ‘She concentrates on the legal and political aspects of Augustus' role in transforming the Roman Republic into an Empire, two important aspects of life when one remembers that Augustus had the rare honour of dying in bed.’
      • ‘Even if he does die in bed rather than in a noose, his last day is not far off.’
  • die in harness

    • Die before retirement.

      • ‘The federation alleged that even the appointments were not made in those cases where the employee had died in harness.’
      • ‘Yes, he could have bowed out on top back in June last year and become the only PM other than Ming not to get the boot or die in harness.’
      • ‘Drummond wore himself out by work and died in harness.’
      • ‘As becomes a man steeped in literature, he gives us examples of creative persons who refused to retire, such as Michelangelo and Titian, both of whom died in harness at age 89.’
  • die like flies

  • die on one's feet

    • informal Come to a sudden or premature end.

      ‘critics said the show would die on its feet’
      • ‘Some day they are going to learn that it is preferable, politically speaking, to die on their feet than live on their knees.’
      • ‘He claims that political parties are dying on their feet and that the election revealed barely disguised hostility to the political process.’
      • ‘Concluding, he noted that village communities are dying on their feet and the number of pupils at rural schools is in decline.’
      • ‘But the demand for live matches was now proving insatiable, as a growing consensus developed that highlights were dying on their feet, and that live games were the only way to revive football as a TV event.’
      • ‘‘The players are dying on their feet out there and I had to make two substitutes before half-time,’ Dalziel said afterwards.’
      • ‘Small shops are dying on their feet as a result of the anti-competitive practices of the big chains, such as running loss leaders.’
      • ‘There are far too many towns all over the world dying on their feet because shopping centres and huge malls have taken over.’
      • ‘The professor said it is a common assumption that British resorts are dying on their feet.’
      • ‘The simple fact of the matter is football clubs in the lower reaches of the game are dying on their feet with the demise of ITV Digital yet another nail in the coffin for many.’
      • ‘The lakes in the west are dying on their feet and it is sad to see the trout population drop so dramatically.’
  • die on the vine

    • Be unsuccessful at an early stage.

      • ‘Linda's words provoked mockery by her former classmate, Jackie Wang, who once worked for a dotcom that died on the vine.’
      • ‘It appears the economic fruit promised by Massachusetts politicians of every stripe is dying on the vine.’
      • ‘From time to time, individuals tried to overcome this divide, but the efforts simply died on the vine.’
      • ‘Are you cultivating them or are they dying on the vine?’
      • ‘Specialized distribution is dying on the vine.’
      • ‘Neither his children nor V.J.'s wanted to take over the operation, so all those years of tradition died on the vine.’
      • ‘Many innovative aircraft designs died on the vine at this point, but the BV - 238 managed to cling tenaciously to life.’
      • ‘I believe this effort died on the vine as I don't recall reading anything more on this subject in future Abstracts.’
      • ‘During his undergraduate years at Harvard, however, that dream died on the vine as Phillips discovered the academic subjects he loved in high school - calculus, biology, and so on - were suddenly downright dull to him.’
      • ‘Any good idea put forward simply dies on the vine.’
  • die with one's boots on

    • Die in battle or while actively occupied.

      ‘Bill had died with his boots on, caught by suction in a waste pipe’
      • ‘He would die with his boots on, ‘having known not… bitterness nor defeat.’’
      • ‘Like most good actors, some day I hope I die with my boots on.’’
      • ‘I'm a third-generation Texan, inheritor of the ‘die with our boots on’ culture, and I do have a handgun license.’
      • ‘If you wanted to die with your boots on, you went with an agency.’
      • ‘The horse ‘died with his boots on’ by dropping dead during a training session at his stables in Liardet Street in New Plymouth.’
      • ‘Some, however, died with their boots on - like Oklahoma's Bill Pickett who was kicked in the head by a horse while working on the largest ranch in the Sooner State.’
      • ‘The few experienced generals who had managed to die with their boots on were probably adequate to the task.’
      • ‘But if I gotta die, and I'm beginning to doubt I do, then I reckon it's better to die with my boots on.’
      • ‘‘This is my way of giving back to society what it has given to me,’ says the young and energetic officer, who admittedly would like to die with his boots on.’
      • ‘He has been with the boat from the beginning and intends to ‘die with his boots on’ in her service.’
  • never say die

    • Used to encourage someone not to give up hope in a difficult situation.

      • ‘We are both very confident and positive people who back our own ability and never say die.’
      • ‘Oh come on now, old thing, never say die, every little counts, etc.’
      • ‘In Trevor's case, and he had the biggest margin to make up, it was a case of slow and steady, head down tail up and never say die.’
      • ‘Remember, everyone, never say die, unless you're really serious about it!’
      • ‘Never say never, as the script writers for some James Bond movie once memorably remarked, and never say die, as someone else said.’
      • ‘However, Mount-mellick's never say die attitude was exemplified by Aiden Challoner's goal late in the game, but it was a case of too little, too late.’
      • ‘That never say die approach was perfectly illustrated with Shane Cooney's mammoth 46th minute point from almost the halfway line to signal the start of the Mitchels revival.’
      • ‘But we're one of those teams that will never say die.’
      • ‘As a player he showed a fantastic never say die attitude and very astute football brain.’
      • ‘They were right in thinking he would never say die.’
  • to die for

    • informal Extremely good or desirable.

      ‘the ice creams are to die for’
      • ‘I loved the Mudbrick Vineyard - not only great food and wine but the views are to die for!’
      • ‘Her dark skin was almost like silk to the touch and I tell you she had those big beautiful brown eyes and lips to die for!’
      • ‘You may have a CV to die for but if your accent doesn't fit then you might as well go home, says John Parrish’
      • ‘Robinson, meanwhile, brought class, writing talent and a voice to die for.’
      • ‘You don't want a greasy kebab on a night out - you want proper paninis, amazing coffee and hot chocolate to die for.’
      • ‘On the ground floor, an array of cheeses, salamis, olive oil, fruit, nougat and pastries to die for.’
      • ‘The costumes were completely marvellous and the sets were to die for in their gorgeousness.’
      • ‘Put very simply, it will result in legs and a backside to die for.’
      • ‘The songs merge a Gomez-like quirkiness, dreamy melodies and harmonies to die for.’
      • ‘Slight and dark, with lustrous eyes and cheekbones to die for, he is even more attractive in the flesh than on screen.’


Middle English: from Old Norse deyja, of Germanic origin; related to dead.




Main definitions of die in English

: die1die2



  • 1

    singular form of dice
    • ‘So when you're level 3 instead of rolling 3 dice you roll 5 dice, or 1 die 5 times.’
    • ‘So we changed the rule such that only the caller lost a single die on an exact bid and we've found that the game is far more enjoyable.’
    • ‘If you're unlucky enough with the roll of the die, the game can be over even faster.’
    • ‘Each number rolled on the die corresponds to a specific category.’
    • ‘Additionally, the die rolling adds a great deal of excitement and tension.’
    • ‘It was the first popular game where movement was not determined by a die roll.’
    • ‘Moves are determined by a special die and each horse is affected differently by the various rolls.’
    • ‘This is because during your turn, you get to draw a card with a saying on it, roll a ten-sided die, and then act out a mood.’
    • ‘To begin, players roll a die to determine which category question they begin with.’
    • ‘If the die showed 5 or 6, then it was thrown again until a number between 1 and 4 came up.’
    • ‘For many dice games - in fact, most such games that I can think of - a six-sided die is sufficient.’
    • ‘By turning any polyhedral die, you can represent how much money you have.’
    • ‘To include only a single die in a game that required rolling two or three at the same time would be astounding.’
    • ‘Combat is handled through targeting a unit in your opponent's force, then rolling a die.’
    • ‘Basically players each choose a team of 5 dice, and take turns throwing a die onto the table.’
    • ‘Each set replaces a single die in a normal (with the predator dice) game of Bongo.’
    • ‘Trials were randomized by the throw of a die, and for each trial, each caller was assigned a number from 1 to 4.’
    • ‘First a regular game of Chess is conducted and then each player rolls a single die.’
    • ‘For example, we could record the sound of dice rolling, and play this sound while our die is rolling.’
    • ‘Different die rolls allow you to move your jeep, or shift some of the animals.’
  • 2A device for cutting or moulding metal into a particular shape.

    • ‘In another metalworking arena, Fantesk may one day be used to lubricate dies, which shape sheet metal into objects such as automobile roofs.’
    • ‘After creating the dies to extrude the frame profiles, workers in Italy produced the extrusions.’
    • ‘The tube is sized by the combination of extruder and puller speeds, and the distance between the extruder die and the cooling water.’
    • ‘This press consisted of a hand operated vertical pump which forced molten lead through a horizontal tube forming the die.’
    • ‘That is going to be the key on pressed metal parts because you can't just take the CATIA design and cut dies to that and get an accurate part.’
    • ‘He designed and made a sizing die with interchangeable bushings of progressively smaller diameters.’
    • ‘This class also includes plastic molds and die cast molding dies.’
    • ‘The Quick Plastic Forming process involves heating an aluminum sheet and using air pressure to form it against a heated die.’
    • ‘It is essentially a die shrunk R100, and is based on a .15 manufacturing process.’
    • ‘This allows the die to dissipate its heat to the heatsink more efficiently, as Intel demonstrated with the Coppermine CPU.’
    • ‘Hand forgings are produced by working aluminum stock between flat dies or other simple tools that shape the piece roughly to the required contour.’
    • ‘If hexagon heads are desired, a heading tool will upset some of the metal into a hexagon-shaped die cavity.’
    • ‘It's fairly easy to grind metal out of a die, but putting it back in presents a real problem.’
    • ‘Jones, Redding and Hornady also offer full-length sizing dies that incorporate their interchangeable neck bushings.’
    • ‘These steels are used for air frame and engine components, injection moulds and dies.’
    • ‘If the thermal path is poor, however, the temperature of the die and L1 device will be quite high.’
    • ‘Making complex parts typically requires costly dies - molds into which metal or plastic is poured or stamped.’
    • ‘In the sealing module, seal grids can be snapped in and out of the sealing-grid die to change the shape of the package seal.’
    • ‘We are getting their entire production lines shifted to India, all tools, moulds, dies, etc.’
    • ‘One of the key elements in designing the dies used to make them is to make sure there's enough material to make whatever it is you need, but not too much.’
    1. 2.1An engraved device for stamping a design on coins or medals.
      • ‘It was compared to a copper trial struck from the die, and carefully examined by several numismatic professionals.’
      • ‘Coins are being struck with dies, and when the dies are finished, a mint normally likes to get the final approval from the authorities before striking the number of coins ordered.’
      • ‘After mounting the die to the wood, stamp the image onto a piece of text-weight paper and allow to dry.’
      • ‘Then you hammer them; you put the die on a coin blank and hit it with a bloody big hammer to mould the impression into the metal.’
      • ‘A set of printing dies stamps the sayings on the sheets in edible red ink, and the hearts are cut.’
      • ‘The pierced motifs were mechanically cut with a steel punch and the embossed decoration on the borders stamped out with steel dies.’
      • ‘He learns that the art of hand-etching engraved dies is fading away as computers and machines have taken over to precisely duplicate the classic fonts.’
      • ‘Designs are available in rubber stamps, precut paper, dies, and stencils.’
      • ‘Such commissions were to become a lucrative money-spinner for die engravers in the 19th century.’
      • ‘If you're working with plain cushion, apply rubber cement to both the cushioned die and the block.’
      • ‘Crucial to urban development is the discovery of coin-making dies, for the Viking economy had previously been based not on currency but on silver bullion and the exchange of goods.’
      • ‘Some years back, the first coins produced with new dies looked better than the ones produced later.’
      • ‘A die was very much cheaper to procure although of course a separate die had to be made for each design.’
      • ‘Q. And when I make a die, I have to create it manually?’
      • ‘This combined efficiency with a new means of authentication: a pendent wax seal, stamped from a die kept in the king's household.’
      • ‘This means the nickel base plate is not evenly pressed onto the CPU die (picture).’
  • 3Architecture
    The cubical part of a pedestal between the base and the cornice; a dado or plinth.


In modern standard English, the singular die (rather than dice) is uncommon. Dice is used for both the singular and the plural


  • the die is cast

    • An event has happened or a decision has been taken that cannot be changed.

      • ‘But now the die is cast, and said brutal dictators and corrupt monarchs no longer have the ability to stop the future.’
      • ‘Voting across the branches ended on Friday night so the die is cast at this stage.’
      • ‘When the die was cast, they stood up and were counted.’
      • ‘The word in the market is that they grossly miscalculated and the die is cast.’
      • ‘In many ways it's the point at which I begin to feel less crushingly anxious - the die is cast, for better or worse.’
      • ‘And so, the die is cast, we move out of here on the morning of March 30, motor up to the little house by the fenside, camp out overnight, just us, Harry and Dolly, two airbeds and a folding chair.’
      • ‘Goodness knows how long it will be before anything happens, still the die is cast.’
      • ‘Once the tax year in which the ISO exercise occurred is closed, the die is cast, and the taxpayer will incur the AMT liability based on the original value at exercise, regardless of the stock's current value.’
      • ‘When Julius Caesar paused to ponder the consequences of a military attack some 2000 years ago, his poetic adage was as fitting then as it is today: alea jacta est - the die is cast.’
      • ‘At this stage the die is cast as far as the venue is concerned and it's a matter of getting on with the job of beating Kerry.’
      • ‘There have been two delays in applying the regulation, but now the die is cast.’
  • (as) straight as a die

    • 1Absolutely straight.

      • ‘This one was built straight as a die and it doesn't take a royal funeral to break out the bells.’
      • ‘The ball travelled as straight as a die and with tremendous speed to the back of the net.’
      • ‘It's rhythmic, uncluttered and straight as a die.’
      1. 1.1Entirely open and honest.


Middle English: from Old French de, from Latin datum something given or played, neuter past participle of dare.