From Middle English dethbed, from Old English dēaþbed, dēaþbedd (“deathbed; grave”); equivalent to death + bed. Cognate with Swedish dödsbädd (“deathbed”). Compare also Dutch sterfbed (“deathbed”), German Sterbebett and Totenbett (both “deathbed”), Danish dødsleje (“deathbed”).
deathbed (plural deathbeds)
- The bed on which someone dies.
- 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 254:
- He was once on his way to an old woman, who was on her death-bed and who had led a wicked life.
- The last hours before death.
All three forms deathbed, death-bed, death bed are in use but deathbed seems to be preferred.