View synonyms for death


[ deth ]


  1. the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism. Compare brain death.

    Synonyms: departure, passing, demise, decease

    Antonyms: life, birth

  2. an instance of this:

    a death in the family; letters published after his death.

  3. the state of being dead:

    to lie still in death.

  4. It will mean the death of our hopes.

  5. manner of dying:

    a hero's death.

  6. (usually initial capital letter) the agent of death personified, usually represented as a man or a skeleton carrying a scythe. Compare Grim Reaper.
  7. Also called spir·it·u·al death [spir, -i-choo, uh, l , deth]. loss or absence of spiritual life.
  8. Christian Science. the false belief that life comes to an end.
  9. bloodshed or murder:

    Hitler was responsible for the death of millions.

  10. a cause or occasion of death:

    You'll be the death of me yet!

  11. Archaic. pestilence; plague. Compare Black Death.


/ dɛθ /


  1. the permanent end of all functions of life in an organism or some of its cellular components
  2. an instance of this

    his death ended an era

  3. a murder or killing

    he had five deaths on his conscience

  4. termination or destruction

    the death of colonialism

  5. a state of affairs or an experience considered as terrible as death

    your constant nagging will be the death of me

  6. a cause or source of death
  7. usually capital a personification of death, usually a skeleton or an old man holding a scythe
    1. until dead

      bleed to death

      a fight to the death

    2. excessively

      bored to death

  8. at death's door
    likely to die soon
  9. catch one's death or catch one's death of cold informal.
    to contract a severe cold
  10. do to death
    1. to kill
    2. to overuse (a joke, etc) so that it no longer has any effect
  11. in at the death
    1. present when an animal that is being hunted is caught and killed
    2. present at the finish or climax
  12. like death warmed up informal.
    very ill
  13. like grim death
    as if afraid for one's life
  14. put to death
    to kill deliberately or execute


/ dĕth /

  1. The end of life of an organism or cell. In humans and animals, death is manifested by the permanent cessation of vital organic functions, including the absence of heartbeat, spontaneous breathing, and brain activity. Cells die as a result of external injury or by an orderly, programmed series of self-destructive events known as apoptosis . The most common causes of death for humans in well-developed countries are cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, certain chronic diseases such as diabetes and emphysema, lung infections, and accidents.
  2. See also brain death

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Other Words From

  • pre·death noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of death1

First recorded before 900; Middle English deeth, Old English dēath; cognate with German Tod, Gothic dauthus; akin to Old Norse deyja “to die”; die 1, -th 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of death1

Old English dēath; related to Old High German tōd death, Gothic dauthus

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at death's door, in serious danger of death; gravely ill:

    Two survivors of the crash are still at death's door.

  2. be death on, Informal.
    1. to be excessively strict about:

      College professors are death on late work, so don't even ask for a deadline extension.

    2. to be snobbish about or toward:

      He's just death on anyone who doesn't appreciate opera.

    3. to be able to cope with easily and successfully:

      The third baseman is death on pop flies.

  3. catch one’s death (of cold), to become ill with a common cold after exposure to bad weather, especially when wearing clothing that fails to keep one warm or dry:

    The kids will catch their death waiting at the bus stop in this rain.

  4. do to death,
    1. to kill, especially to murder.
    2. to repeat too often, to the point of becoming monotonous and boring:

      That theme has been done to death.

  5. in at the death,
    1. Fox Hunting. present at the kill.
    2. present at the climax or conclusion of a situation.
  6. put to death, to kill; execute.
  7. to death, to an extreme degree; thoroughly:

    sick to death of the heat.

More idioms and phrases containing death

  • at death's door
  • be the death of
  • bore to death
  • catch cold (one's death)
  • fate worse than death
  • in at the death
  • kiss of death
  • look like death (warmed over)
  • matter of life and death
  • put to death
  • scare out of one's wits (to death)
  • sign one's own death warrant
  • thrill to pieces (to death)
  • tickled pink (to death)
  • to death
  • dead

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Example Sentences

So far, little is known publicly about the ransomware strain or the attackers involved in the infection, which began last Thursday, about 24 hours before the death occurred.

The best way to dampen the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic — to prevent illness and death and to return the economy to normal — is to limit its spread.

New cases have declined markedly from the height of the pandemic in July and deaths have declined from the spring, when more than 1,500 people a day typically died.

Over time, though, the percentage of total deaths that have occurred in blue states has dropped.

If that were the country’s total, we would have seen the second-most number of deaths globally, trailing only Brazil.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Asia Bibi, as she is known, was arrested and sentenced to death.

The most notorious states are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where death is an acceptable legal remedy.

Father Joel Román Salazar died in a car crash in 2013; his death was ruled an accident, but the suspicion of foul play persists.

The death toll, which experts believe has been significantly undercut by secret burials, stands at 7,905.

This is the place where the Muscovite criminals are banished to, if they are not put to death.

Elyon is the name of an ancient Phœnician god, slain by his son El, no doubt the “first-born of death” in Job xviii.

Your sacrifice shall be the agony of agonies, the death of deaths, and yet you'll find yourself unable to resist.

Good is set against evil, and life against death: so also is the sinner against a just man.

For of sadness cometh death, and it overwhelmeth the strength, and the sorrow of the heart boweth down the neck.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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