[ dahy-awf, -of ]

  1. a sudden, natural perishing of large numbers of a species, population, or community.

Origin of die-off

First recorded in1935–40; noun use of verb phrase die off

Words Nearby die-off

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

Scientific definitions for die-off


[ ôf′ ]

  1. 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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with die-off


Perish one by one, as in A celibate community, the Shakers are dying off. [Late 1600s]

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