no longer living; dead.


the deceased,
  1. the particular dead person or persons referred to.
  2. dead persons collectively: to speak well of the deceased.

Origin of deceased

First recorded in 1480–90; decease + -ed2
Related formsun·de·ceased, adjective
Can be confuseddeceased diseased

Synonym study

1. See dead.




the act of dying; departure from life; death.

verb (used without object), de·ceased, de·ceas·ing.

to depart from life; die.

Origin of decease

1300–50; (noun) Middle English deces < Old French < Latin dēcessus departure, death, equivalent to dēced-, variant stem of dēcēdere to go away (dē- de- + cēdere to go; see cede) + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > s; (v.) late Middle English decesen, derivative of the noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deceased

Contemporary Examples of deceased

Historical Examples of deceased

  • Hence the hair of the deceased was consecrated to her, and her name invoked at funerals.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • His great friendship for her deceased husband also inclined him to like her.

  • Arthur, not being in the mood to extol the memory of the deceased, was silent.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Possibly they were intended to mark the graves of deceased chieftains.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • No greater homage was ever paid in Parliament to any deceased member.


    Samuel Smiles

British Dictionary definitions for deceased



  1. a more formal word for dead (def. 1)
  2. (as noun)the deceased



a more formal word for death


(intr) a more formal word for die 1

Word Origin for decease

C14 (n): from Old French deces, from Latin dēcēdere to depart
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 deceased

late 15c., past participle adjective from decease (v.). As a verbal noun meaning "dead person, those who are dead," from early 17c.



"to die," early 15c., from decease (n.). Related: Deceased; deceasing



"death," early 14c., from Old French deces (12c., Modern French décès) "decease, death," from Latin decessus "death" (euphemism for mors), also "a retirement, a departure," from decess-, past participle stem of decedere "die, depart, withdraw," literally "to go down," from de- "away" (see de-) + cedere "go" (see cede). Still used with a tinge of euphemism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper