[ dahy-awf, -of ]
/ ˈdaɪˌɔf, -ˌɒf /
a sudden, natural perishing of large numbers of a species, population, or community.
How Do I Write … To Kill Off A Character?If you're a fiction writer, you know this feeling well: you're toiling away at your story, charting out your plot and reaching pivotal points that will no doubt choke up your readers, when you come to the realization that it's time for one of your characters to sing their swan song. But how are you going to kill them off?
Origin of die-off
First recorded in 1935–40; noun use of verb phrase die off
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Science definitions for die-off
[ dī′ôf′ ]
A sudden, severe decline in a population or community of organisms as a result of natural causes. Local die-offs can be caused by such factors as an unusual or extreme weather pattern, an outbreak of disease, or toxic algal blooms in a body of water. Widespread or global die-offs in which a species or group of species becomes extinct are generally associated with rapid climate change or other large-scale environmental dislocations.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.