Definition of death in English:

death

noun

  • 1The action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.

    ‘an increase in deaths from skin cancer’
    ‘I don't believe in life after death’
    as modifier ‘a death sentence’
    • ‘There is no family history of sudden infant deaths and everything had seemed okay.’
    • ‘"Poor diet is the biggest cause of preventable death in this country.’
    • ‘The exhibition, which runs until September 7, is a showpiece of life and death in the animal world.’
    • ‘The other two photographs are closer, and shows many birds dead, some near death and very few still standing.’
    • ‘Requiem - a mass for the dead - explores the relationship between man and death.’
    • ‘Incidents of violent attacks that leave people dead or near death have increased in Australia recently.’
    • ‘He has pleaded not guilty to four charges of causing death by dangerous driving.’
    • ‘It is a sad fact that these deaths are now so commonplace that they rarely make the news.’
    • ‘There are so many choices out there that don't require the suffering and death of animals.’
    • ‘I think we have to do everything that is possible to reduce deaths and casualties on the roads.’
    • ‘Men who don't fear death are dead men because fearing death is part of life’
    • ‘At present, we have the highest rate of premature death from heart disease in the EU.’
    • ‘By the time the guards run in, minutes later, the occupants are all either dead or on the brink of death.’
    • ‘The death knell may be about to sound for Yorkshire's last remaining pits.’
    • ‘Especially in October and November, we often think of death and the dead.’
    • ‘If we cannot save or stop the death of animals, at least we should not kill them in a cruel way.’
    • ‘It is estimated that around one fifth of all deaths in the UK are attributed to smoking.’
    • ‘Drivers have borne the brunt of the blame for their part in our high road death toll.’
    • ‘Jack closed his eyes tightly and longed for death, for surely he would be dead sooner or later.’
    • ‘So those people died a tragic, tragic sudden, unexpected death.’
    demise, dying, end, passing, passing away, passing on, loss of life, expiry, expiration, departure from life, final exit, eternal rest
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state of being dead.
      ‘even in death, she was beautiful’
      • ‘So tranquil appeared the manly features in the repose of death, that some moments had passed ere those around could believe that the patriarch was no more.’
      • ‘The bad part of grief is that it, like death, lasts forever.’
    2. 1.2 The permanent ending of vital processes in a cell or tissue.
      • ‘Roots of this length have not initiated physiological death processes, and include a mass of mitotic cells.’
      • ‘This occurred through different pathways and caused different modes of cell death.’
      • ‘If you have too much cell death at the wrong time, then that results in disturbed brain development.’
      • ‘These cells then enter a non-dividing state, termed senescence, which can lead to irreversible cell death.’
      • ‘Programmed cell death occurs in most, if not all life forms.’
      • ‘This stabilization leads to mutations and eventually to cell death.’
      • ‘We've isolated a number of molecules now that are known to cause cell death in other cell systems.’
      • ‘After discharges, seizure activity could act as a stimulus producing cell death in the hippocampus.’
      • ‘This cell death contributes to the memory lapses and confusion seen in the patients.’
      • ‘A significant decrease in cell death was achieved through the depletion of oxygen.’
      • ‘Ultimately, in the third stage, this process becomes irreversible and leads to cell death.’
      • ‘It is noted that this heat treatment resulted in only minimal cell death.’
      • ‘It causes the controlled death of single cells, if this is to the advantage of the whole organism.’
      • ‘Over time, cell death has been linked to decreased heart function or heart failure.’
      • ‘Two approaches for how to prevent nerve cell death have just been reported.’
      • ‘Mutations can affect genes that control the birth or death of cells.’
      • ‘I highly recommend this book for all who have an interest in plant biology and programmed cell death in general.’
      • ‘For example, a severe sunburn with peeling skin shows p53 in action causing programmed cell death of the skin.’
      • ‘Plants also undergo programmed cell death in a variety of situations.’
      • ‘It's a curious thing that programmed cell death is an absolutely essential part of development.’
    3. 1.3in singular The personification of the power that destroys life, often represented in art and literature as a skeleton or an old man holding a scythe.
      • ‘Ah, they told themselves, Reaper, the Minion of Death, is back in town.’
      • ‘One short sleep, we wake eternally, and Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!’
      • ‘The Ancient Mariner was by now in agony, as he looked upon all those whom Death had taken.’
      • ‘The image of Death’s wide-open mouth evokes the devouring void, the very nothingness that comes with the cessation of consciousness.’
      • ‘The story of Savitri begins when Death visits the woodland home of Savitri to take her husband, Satyavan.’
      the grim reaper, the dark angel, the angel of death
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4in singular The destruction or permanent end of something.
      ‘the death of her hopes’
      • ‘Cinema's birth or rebirth is intimately linked to its death and the process of its mourning.’
      • ‘The Mighty Ed Driscoll has a terrific post on the death of the smart romantic comedy, inspired by a piece by A.O. Scott.’
      • ‘The death of the American auto industry -- and the loss of hundreds of thousands of high-paying union jobs -- isn't necessarily a bad thing for the environment if it means more market share for more efficient Japanese vehicles.’
      end, finish, cessation, termination, extinction, extinguishing, collapse, ruin, ruination, destruction, extermination, eradication, annihilation, obliteration, extirpation
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 A damaging or destructive state of affairs.
      ‘to be driven to a dance by one's father would be social death’
      • ‘What they did was create a situation where if you are a high school student, it is social death to have a mobile phone that is not a Nokia.’
      • ‘Playing the lone wolf is gutsy, but be prepared for professional and social death.’
      • ‘In every slave society slaves challenged the idea of slavery by struggling to redeem themselves from social death.’
      • ‘Being a Classics teacher is not the social death it was twenty-five years ago.’
      • ‘Any uniform approach to the curriculum or to learning is intellectual death to some of the learners, and is therefore suspect.’
      • ‘In my era we were told as academics: deal with the media at your peril, it's professional death.’

Phrases

  • at death's door

    • (especially in hyperbolic use) so ill that one might die.

      • ‘Indeed Colm, who has suffered from cystic fibrosis since birth, was considered more than once to be at death's door, with the family being called to his bedside.’
      • ‘It is a near-miraculous story that Eoin Hand can now lead a full, active and satisfying life, considering that in 1997 he was at death's door, having been administered the last rites.’
      • ‘When I saw him just after he had the operation, he looked to be at death's door, so for him to rally and want to play again shows the courage he possesses and love for the game.’
      • ‘Three years ago, the Evening Press reported how Rhys made a miraculous recovery when he had appeared to be at death's door, struggling against pneumonia and a collapsed lung.’
      • ‘She was at death's door and a relation had been taken from prison to the hospital to see her.’
      • ‘An old woman of the area was at death's door and a neighbour went to fetch the parish priest who lived at Barratogher.’
      • ‘She was at death's door and it wasn't like Jennifer - it was like something had been switched off inside her.’
      • ‘Of course, when I was at death's door last Friday I did hit the nearest mall, but I didn't wear make-up, so it's ok.’
      • ‘Yes, I was prostrate, at death's door, battling a feline-inflicted strep infection.’
      • ‘This morning, I find I'm feeling less like a person at death's door.’
      • ‘Though doctors could find nothing wrong with him, he convinced them he was at death's door.’
      • ‘Paramedic Liz Moore said: ‘It's the first time we've seen him since the incident in February, and it's lovely to see him looking so well after being at death's door.’’
      • ‘What's the diagnosis, Doc - robust health or at death's door?’
      • ‘Now and then rumors surface that the nation's leader is not in the best health - that he is even at death's door.’
      • ‘‘I suppose I would reply that I am in a transition from being at death's door to slowly rebuilding my life,’ said Obree.’
      • ‘But when I am at death's door please spare me other people's taste in radio.’
      • ‘She told me she's very spiritual and suffers from migraines but has never seen a doctor about them because her family doesn't believe one should go to a doctor unless one is at death's door.’
      • ‘To make matters worse, Mr. King was in the hospital, possibly at death's door.’
      • ‘But in the course of her illness, she said, it was intensely tiresome when people assumed she was at death's door, in spite of statistics proving how good her chances were.’
      • ‘‘Some people have died within 20 minutes of arriving in a hospital because they don't go until they are at death's door,’ he said.’
      unwell, sick, not well, not very well, ailing, poorly, sickly, peaky, afflicted, indisposed, infirm, liverish
      View synonyms
  • be the death of

    • (often used hyperbolically or humorously) cause someone's death.

      ‘you'll be the death of me with all your questions’
      • ‘I insisted, like any smart-assed grad student, that rote memorization was the death of cognitive liberty.’
      • ‘I love my family to death, but they were going to be the death of me if they weren't careful.’
      • ‘If we and they do not fill this empty space, it will be the death of them and it will be the death of us.’
      • ‘His early death encouraged the belief that debauchery and dissipation had been the death of him.’
      • ‘It had been keeping Paladiene safe for over one thousand years now, but he alone had been the death of over one hundred Gate Holders.’
      • ‘According to the authors, human-induced global warming could be the death of over a million species by the year 2050.’
      • ‘You just don't get it, the Civil War was the death of democracy and the triumph of corporations (the dead) over the living.’
      • ‘The 17th Amendment was the death of the careful balance between state and federal governments.’
      • ‘When the telegraph came on the scene in the mid-19th century it was widely predicted that that was the death of newspapers.’
  • be in at the death

    • 1Be present when a hunted animal is caught and killed.

      • ‘My brother was in at the death of the great southern herds in 1877, and had a good deal of experience in buffalo hunting.’
      • ‘After the latter I had many a long and tiring run in my boyish days; and on one occasion followed the pack for five hours, without a moment's rest, and was in at the death of a fourth hare.’
      • ‘All the hunters who were in at the death expressed their surprise at these appearances.’
      • ‘My horse was, fortunately, a quiet old beast, that had rushed with me into many a herd, and been in at the death of many a buffalo.’
      • ‘He thought he might yet be in at the death; and with this idea he ran up to his horse, drew the picket-pin, and leaping upon his bare back, directed him after the chase.’
      1. 1.1Be present when something fails or comes to an end.
        • ‘A fury of rule or ruin has always in the history of human affairs been a characteristic of the ‘strong men’ whose fate it is to be in at the death of an expiring principle.’
        • ‘‘New Zealand troops were in at the death, and have fought with tremendous tenacity throughout,’ cabled Mr. Churchill to the New Zealand Government.’
        • ‘During a portion of this year Bowen retired from active work, but returned in time to be in at the death, which occurred in February, 1879.’
        • ‘And then he himself, in the King George V, was in at the death, battleships, battle-cruisers, the fleet air arm, cruisers, and destroyers, all having taken part in the chase.’
        • ‘After the first two matches of the 2004-05 Premier League season, Arsenal and Chelsea have both announced their intentions to be in at the death for the Premiership title.’
        • ‘Even at this stage, it is already almost certain to qualify in first place, but the fight is on for the minor placings, with any of the other 7 teams capable of being in at the death.’
        • ‘Another occasion on which he was in at the death chasing victory came on a tour to Taiwan in the 1980s.’
        • ‘Before the big show I went on stage and told the audience they were in at the death of a film.’
        • ‘Well, we'll be returning to the experiment to be in at the death, so to speak!’
  • catch one's death (of cold)

    • informal Catch a severe cold or chill.

      • ‘Um… Could we stay the night, it is dreadfully cold out here, and we might catch our death if we don't get in out of the rain.’
      • ‘You could have caught your death out there in the rain!’
      • ‘‘Ah, come in out of the rain,’ replies Mrs O'Connor, possibly innocent, possibly knowing, ‘or you'll catch your death.’’
      • ‘You'll catch your death out here,’ he growled, undoing his cloak and wrapping it around her.’
      • ‘Surely a porch to stop diners catching their death of cold every time someone comes in for a beer wouldn't be too much to ask?’
      • ‘You don't look like you're wearing anything under that nightdress and you'll catch your death of cold if you wear just that’
      • ‘You will catch your death out here, without a coat!’
      • ‘You need to get out of those wet clothes before you catch your death.’
      • ‘Go and put some dry clothes on quick, before you catch your death of cold.’
      • ‘Liza fears she will catch her death if she gets entirely wet.’
      • ‘He will catch his death of cold one day, taking so little care of himself in these weathers.’
      • ‘Your sister would easily catch her death - she's very susceptible to illness right now and she's of a fragile constitution as it is anyway.’
      • ‘There are extensive views from here across Ilkley Moor and Wharfedale, but don't forget to wrap up warm or you may just catch your death of cold!’
      • ‘You'll catch your death of cold here, if you keep sitting in that puddle.’
      • ‘Some drunk helpfully kicked him and said, ‘You can't stay there, you'll catch your death.’’
      • ‘When Archer opens the window for fresh air to clear his mind, May tells him to shut it: ‘You'll catch your death!’’
      • ‘Now let's get you warm before you catch your death.’
      • ‘When you get to the party, you change out of those wet clothes or you'll catch your death out here.’
      • ‘It's your last chance to bring in all tender plants growing in pots before they catch their death of cold in early frosts.’
      • ‘If that was me, my mother would run on to the pitch and tell me to get off the wet grass before I catch my death of cold.’
  • like death warmed over (or up)

    • informal Extremely tired or ill.

      • ‘So it was that I came back to work two weeks ago looking like death warmed up (my boss said I was grey).’
      • ‘He looked like death warmed over for the second or third time. He had the pallor of a corpse; he had little color to him.’
      • ‘Or rather, don't try it if you feel like I do today - like death warmed up - because it will only make your headache worse.’
      • ‘‘Geez mate, you look like death warmed up on toast and served in hell’ Max commented as he sat down on the end of the bed.’
      • ‘Sure enough, this morning I felt like death warmed up and the sneezing began.’
      • ‘While I don't know if it was the makeup or he has some sort of serious heroin addiction but he just looks like death warmed over.’
      • ‘So I had to get up, ring the doctor and take them to the appointment, even though I felt like death warmed up.’
      • ‘On Sunday night he looked like death warmed up but now you wouldn't think that there had been anything wrong with him.’
      • ‘Jen may have looked like death warmed over, but she was smiling.’
      • ‘Back then in Leicester I just woke up one morning and felt terrible, and it was only after several days of feeling like death warmed up that I finally went to a doctor.’
      • ‘But I don't understand why Francis won't talk to me, or why he looks like death warmed over, and I have to tell you, I'm getting really worried about him.’
      • ‘There was one day where he seemed like death warmed up a couple of weeks ago, and we thought the end was near.’
      • ‘Hm. I've only been up for three and a half hours and I already look like death warmed over.’
      • ‘And even though he looks like death warmed up, O'Toole is on splendidly spirited form and even manages to give the dog a run for its money.’
      • ‘From the moment of life to the moment of death, he had the exact same look in his eyes, because he always kind of looked like death warmed over.’
      • ‘Yet, it thrilled her that he still found her attractive - even yesterday when she knew she had looked like death warmed over.’
  • put someone to death

    • Kill someone, especially with official sanction.

      • ‘And generally what happens is when people seek the death penalty, jurors tend to want more evidence if they're going to put somebody to death than otherwise.’
      • ‘Without a stay or clemency, Williams will be put to death at midnight Pacific Time.’
      • ‘The acting, too, is well-suited to the demands of Greek theatre - particularly Matt Shapiro's portrayal of King Creon who is forced by the laws of Thebes to put Antigone to death for violating a religious decree.’
      • ‘A Briton on Death Row will have to wait until next week to hear whether he will be put to death by lethal injection.’
      • ‘The 8th Circuit's ruling stood, and after having evaded execution on six previously scheduled dates, Singleton was put to death on Tuesday.’
      • ‘Legend tells us that some made amazing escapes from the very clutches of those about to put them to death.’
      • ‘Remember, when Jesus challenged the authorities they put him to death.’
      • ‘And the third thing is, if he was put to death, it would have a devastating impact on his family.’
      • ‘She would ask visitors entering the city of Thebes to answer a riddle and if they could not answer they would be put to death.’
      • ‘So if they are put to death then they will not be able to re-offend and be a threat to society any longer.’
      • ‘While about one quarter of murder victims in Texas are black males, since 1976 only 0.4 percent of prisoners executed in Texas have been put to death for murdering black victims.’
      • ‘Should either of you return to Prydyn for any reason and are discovered, as you certainly will be, you will be put to death.’
      • ‘It makes no difference whether you put a man to death by word or by sword.’
      • ‘I am still struggling with death penalty issues, as I can see where a case could be made that society is defending itself in putting someone to death.’
      • ‘Gordon's reply was that he and his supporters ‘had not yet determined to murder the king and put him to death, they only considered that they were absolved from their allegiance’.’
      • ‘This is not achieved by objectifying murderers and putting them to death to serve as an example to others in the expectation that they might possibly be deterred thereby.’
      • ‘But no one can put me to death if I play my music too loudly or invite my boyfriend over for the night.’
      • ‘Longerich concurred, adding that Hitler's reference to the Slovakian Jews is significant because (as Hitler must by this time have known) they had been put to death in extermination camps.’
      • ‘Caiaphas, described as ‘bloodthirsty’ in the film, blackmails Pilate into putting Jesus to death.’
      execute, hang, send to the gallows, send to the gibbet, behead, guillotine, decapitate, electrocute, send to the electric chair, send to the chair, shoot, put before a firing squad, send to the gas chamber, gas, crucify, stone, stone to death
      View synonyms
  • till (or until) death us do part

    • For as long as both people in a couple live.

      • ‘God's blessing is bestowed on the couple's pledge of fidelity ‘till death us do part.’’
      • ‘Christian marriage is almost defined in terms of loyalty: ‘to have and to hold… for richer, for poorer,… in sickness and in health,… till death us do part.’’
      • ‘This promise to love, honor, and cherish till death us do part was precisely a recognition of our new state of unity.’
      • ‘‘In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’: these are words spoken by grown-ups.’
      • ‘But maybe players will realise that the idea of planning your possible divorce before vowing ‘till death us do part’ is a victory for pragmatism over romance.’
  • to death

    • 1Used of a particular action or process that results in someone's death.

      ‘he was stabbed to death’
      • ‘Earlier this year, trouble flared when a British teenager was stabbed to death outside a bar.’
      • ‘The drama begins with the death of Melissa, whom Periander beats to death in a furious rage.’
      • ‘He also had form, having nearly strangled Arlene to death just weeks both she disappeared.’
      • ‘I was sadly told the other day that a large majority of the cats had been poisoned to death.’
      • ‘The family of a security guard who was stabbed to death have appealed for help to find his killer.’
      • ‘If we cast our minds back many have been murdered, tortured, burned to death and persecuted.’
      • ‘A postmortem revealed he had bled to death after a single stab wound to the neck severed a main artery.’
      • ‘The apparent weapon was sarin gas, a highly toxic nerve agent that causes victims to choke to death.’
      • ‘In the call, he told his wife that one passenger already had been stabbed to death.’
      • ‘This is a far cry from last year's parade where a man was stabbed to death on the route.’
      • ‘He was then caught on a nearby roundabout where he was beaten, stabbed and axed to death.’
      • ‘Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that was not a relative.’
      • ‘Sometimes chickens will pick out the weakest one in the flock and peck it to death.’
      • ‘A heroin addict has spoken of the moment he used a heavy wooden lamp stand to beat two men to death as they slept in his flat.’
      • ‘Police are to swamp a town with posters in a bid to identify the brutes who battered a father to death in front of his family.’
      • ‘She did not want to be beaten to death by these people for the sake of her mother.’
      • ‘A burglar is believed to have choked to death after getting his neck trapped in a window of a home he was fleeing.’
      • ‘Of what use is decisive victory in battle, he asked, if we bleed to death as a result?’
      • ‘Forensic experts believe they now have a DNA profile of the person who stabbed her to death.’
      • ‘Once this was done, these men were axed and clubbed to death and thrown into the pit.’
      1. 1.1Used to emphasize the extreme nature of a specific action, feeling, or state of mind.
        ‘I'm sick to death of you’
        ‘the story scared me to death’
        • ‘I was in very good company, and managed to bore some extremely nice people to death.’
        • ‘I am sick to death of reading letters in your newspaper about how bad bus drivers are.’
        • ‘I am sure I am not the only person who is sick to death of the constant noise and mess.’
        • ‘However, I am sick to death of people maligning the elderly as burdens on society.’
        • ‘I think he came on this stupid quest thing just so he could annoy me to death.’
        • ‘Workers are sick to death of the injustice of low pay for doing vital public service jobs.’
        • ‘Frankly, if it means being bored to death by a whining old former talent at a rally, I'd give it a miss.’
        • ‘The Functionary had a bedraggled expression, like he'd been almost licked to death.’
        • ‘I'm sick to death of liberal commentators waffling on their opposition to the war.’
        • ‘I had to take the karate lesson as well, didn't have any kind of plan in mind, and talked myself to death.’
        • ‘I've been sick to death of referees all season and it's people like him that lose us jobs.’
        • ‘I am sick to death of people like you standing up and telling me how wrong I am.’
        • ‘No wonder they're commentating on Grand Prix, they've bored their only friends to death.’
        out of one's mind, to death, to tears, silly, stupid, sick
        View synonyms
  • to the death

    • Until dead.

      ‘a fight to the death’
      • ‘This finally leads to the hero facing off against his adversary in a duel to the death.’
      • ‘We go on until all of you give up or until the last man is standing, a fight to the death.’
      • ‘My theory is they do this to force people to buy two packets, in order to avoid that inevitable fight to the death.’
      • ‘They are mean and petty and will fight each other to the death over one little tiny nut.’
      • ‘They were among thousands of slaves being trained to fight to the death in the arena for public entertainment.’
      • ‘They would probably fight to the death to defend him if it ever came to that.’
      • ‘He knew it would more than likely be a death blow but it was a fight to the death.’
      • ‘Feuding fish face a fight to the death with the unlucky loser sinking into oblivion.’
      • ‘This behavior has been exploited by fish fight organizers for years, so that the fish will fight to the death.’
      • ‘World War One soldiers knew their king and country expected them to fight to the death.’
      • ‘It looked over, but Thistle fought right to the death and refused to lie down.’
      • ‘If they were foes he was prepared to quickly extend his claws and fight to the death.’
      • ‘She is at once fiercely competitive and ladylike, a fighter to the death and yet a model of polite understatement.’
      • ‘The type of friends one would fight to the death for, even though they knew the odds were against them.’
      • ‘They certainly are not fighting to the death here and have quickly fled to the hills on the whiff of trouble.’
      • ‘They certainly don't herd sheep, but will fight to the death to kill their predators.’
      • ‘We cannot forget that we are at war, one our enemy declares is a fight to the death.’
      • ‘No one knows what the outcome will be, but it is certain that it will be a fight to the death.’
      • ‘That way, he suggested, those who remain behind can fight to the death without fear that their cause will die with them.’
      • ‘The scene is set for a fight to the death and then an appearance of the famous Trojan Horse.’
  • do someone to death

    • Kill someone.

      • ‘But the death of the prince of Wales at Tewkesbury in 1471 sealed his own fate, and a few days later he was done to death.’
      • ‘During the war they were used as slave labour till they dropped, and then were done to death.’
      • ‘We are standing here only a couple of hundred yards from Magennis's bar where Mr McCartney was done to death a few weeks ago.’
      • ‘The police are now trying to find out when and how she was done to death.’
      • ‘But because he was different he was done to death.’
      execute, hang, send to the gallows, send to the gibbet, behead, guillotine, decapitate, electrocute, send to the electric chair, send to the chair, shoot, put before a firing squad, send to the gas chamber, gas, crucify, stone, stone to death
      View synonyms
  • do something to death

    • Perform or repeat something so frequently that it becomes tediously familiar.

      ‘a subject that has been done to death by generations of painters’
      • ‘Hitler and the Nazis have been done to death academically.’
      • ‘He even bends a spoon using the power of his mind - even the debunking of that trick has been done to death.’
      • ‘Mr O'Sullivan said the incinerator issue had been done to death here.’
      • ‘Strindberg's Miss Julie has been done to death recently.’
      • ‘Racing games have been done to death so these days they have to fall into two categories: genuine world-beaters or average games with a great gimmick.’

Origin

Old English dēath, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dood and German Tod, also to die.

Pronunciation

death

/dɛθ//deTH/