Nearby words

  1. dearly,
  2. dearterialization,
  3. dearth,
  4. deary,
  5. deasil,
  6. death adder,
  7. death and taxes, certain as,
  8. death angel,
  9. death bell,
  10. death benefit


Origin of death

before 900; Middle English deeth, Old English dēath; cognate with German Tod, Gothic dauthus; akin to Old Norse deyja to die1; see -th1

1. birth, life.

Related formspre·death, noun

Can be confuseddearth death Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for to death



the permanent end of all functions of life in an organism or some of its cellular components
an instance of thishis death ended an era
a murder or killinghe had five deaths on his conscience
termination or destructionthe death of colonialism
a state of affairs or an experience considered as terrible as deathyour constant nagging will be the death of me
a cause or source of death
(usually capital) a personification of death, usually a skeleton or an old man holding a scythe
  1. to death or to the deathuntil deadbleed to death; a fight to the death
  2. to deathexcessivelybored to death
at death's door likely to die soon
catch one's death or catch one's death of cold informal to contract a severe cold
do to death
  1. to kill
  2. to overuse (a joke, etc) so that it no longer has any effect
in at the death
  1. present when an animal that is being hunted is caught and killed
  2. present at the finish or climax
like death warmed up informal very ill
like grim death as if afraid for one's life
put to death to kill deliberately or execute
Related formsRelated adjectives: fatal, lethal, mortalRelated prefixes: necro-, thanato-

Word Origin for death

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

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 to death


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for to death




The end of life; the permanent cessation of vital bodily functions, as manifested in humans by the loss of heartbeat, the absence of spontaneous breathing, and brain death.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for to death



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. See also brain death.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with to death

to death

To an extreme or intolerable degree, as in I am tired to death of these fund-raising phone calls, or That movie just thrilled me to death. This hyperbolic phrase is used as an intensifier. Also see sick and tired; tired out. [c. 1300]


In addition to the idioms beginning with death

  • death and taxes, certain as
  • death knell
  • death of
  • death on

also see:

  • 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

Also see underdead.

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