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Borrowed from Latin dēfunctus, past participle of dēfungor (to finish, discharge).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /dɪˈfʌŋkt/
  • (US) also IPA(key): /ˌdiˈfʌŋkt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌŋkt


defunct (comparative more defunct, superlative most defunct)

  1. (now rare) Deceased, dead.
  2. No longer in use or active, nor expected to be again.
    • 1880 January 1, The Locomotive, volume 1, number 1, Hartford, Conn.: The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection And Insurance Company, page 9:
      [T]he engineer must solve the mysteries of boiler accidents by studying defunct structures of many different types.
    1. (business) No longer in business or service, nor expected to be again.
  3. (computing) Specifically, of a process: having terminated but not having been reaped (by its parent or an inheritor), and thus still occupying a process slot. See also zombie, zombie process.
  4. (linguistics) (of a language) No longer spoken.
    • 2007, J. N. Adams, “The Republic: inscriptions”, in The Regional Diversification of Latin 200 BC - AD 600, Cambridge University Press, page 105:
      When a language dies members of the culture of which that language was once a part may attempt to hold on to their linguistic heritage, if not by the use of the defunct language itself, at least by the preservation of its script.




defunct (third-person singular simple present defuncts, present participle defuncting, simple past and past participle defuncted)

  1. To make defunct.



  1. The dead person (referred to).
    • 1687, John Aubrey, Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme, page 23:
      A small tablet is fixt near the Altar, upon wch the friends of ye defunct lay their offerings in mony according to their own ability and the quality of the person deceased.
    • 1817 September, in Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine, volume 1, page 617:
      [] he saw Robert Johnston, pannel, come out of the cott-house with the fork in his hand, and pass by Alexander Fall and the deponent; heard the pannell say, he had sticked the dog, and he would stick the whelps too; whereupon the pannell run after the defunct’s son with the fork in his hand, []

Related terms[edit]




Borrowed from French défunt.


defunct m (plural defuncți)

  1. deceased