the bed on which a person dies: The museum contains Lincoln's deathbed.


of, pertaining to, said, or done during the last few hours of a person's life: a deathbed confession.


    on one's deathbed, in the last few hours before death.

Origin of deathbed

First recorded in 1350–1400, deathbed is from the Middle English word deethbed. See death, bed Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deathbed

Contemporary Examples of deathbed

Historical Examples of deathbed

  • They will be more apt to understand from the telegram that you're on your deathbed.

  • My poor governess, lying rigid on her deathbed, had a man's face.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • I swear it to you on my deathbed; I swear it to you before God!

  • Cap'n Eben, on his deathbed, asked Dr. Parker and me to be witnesses to the engagement.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Gervase, with his dying breath, exclaimed: "This stone shall be my deathbed!"

    Hampstead and Marylebone

    Geraldine Edith Mitton

British Dictionary definitions for deathbed



  1. the bed in which a person is about to die
  2. (as modifier)a deathbed conversion
on one's deathbed about to die
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for deathbed

Old English, "the grave," from death (n.) + bed (n.). Meaning "bed on which someone dies" is from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper