death

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See also: dearth, Death, and deaþ

English[edit]

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 Death (disambiguation) on Wikipedia
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 death on Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English deeth, from Old English dēaþ, from Proto-West Germanic *dauþu, from Proto-Germanic *dauþuz (compare West Frisian dead, Dutch dood, German Tod, Swedish död), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰówtus. Equivalent to die +‎ -th. More at die.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

death (countable and uncountable, plural deaths)

  1. The cessation of life and all associated processes; the end of an organism's existence as an entity independent from its environment and its return to an inert, nonliving state.
    The death of my grandmother saddened the whole family.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      They burned the old gun that used to stand in the dark corner up in the garret, close to the stuffed fox that always grinned so fiercely. Perhaps the reason why he seemed in such a ghastly rage was that he did not come by his death fairly. Otherwise his pelt would not have been so perfect. And why else was he put away up there out of sight?—and so magnificent a brush as he had too. [].
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, chapter I, in 'The House Behind the Cedars':
      "‘Death,’" quoted Warwick, with whose mood the undertaker's remarks were in tune, "‘is the penalty that all must pay for the crime of living.’"
    • 2013 July-August, Philip J. Bushnell, “Solvents, Ethanol, Car Crashes & Tolerance”, in 'American Scientist':
      Furthermore, this increase in risk is comparable to the risk of death from leukemia after long-term exposure to benzene, another solvent, which has the well-known property of causing this type of cancer.
    1. Execution (in the judicial sense).
      The serial killer was sentenced to death.
  2. (often capitalized) The personification of death as a hooded figure with a scythe; the Grim Reaper. The pronoun he is not the only option, but probably the most traditional one, as it matches with the male grammatical gender of Old English dēaþ, also with cognate German der Tod. The fourth apocalyptic rider (Bible, revelations 6:8) is male θᾰ́νᾰτος (thanatos) in Greek. It has the female name Mors in Latin, but is referred to with male forms qui and eum. The following quotes show this rider on a pale horse is his in the English Bible and she in Peter Gabriel's lyrics.
    When death walked in, a chill spread through the room.
  3. (the death) The collapse or end of something.
    England scored a goal at the death to even the score at one all.
    • 1983, Robert R. Faulkner, Music on Demand (page 90)
      He may even find himself being blamed if the project dies a quick and horrible death at the box office or is unceremoniously axed by the network.
    1. (figuratively, especially followed by of-phrase) A cause of great stress, exhaustion, embarrassment, or another negative condition (for someone).
      This bake sale is going to be the death of me!
  4. (figuratively) Spiritual lifelessness.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from death (noun)

Pages starting with “death”.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]