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From Middle English undede, equivalent to un- +‎ dead. The first attestation is from around 1400. Usage as a noun is attested from the early 20th century onwards.


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undead (not comparable)

  1. Pertaining to a corpse, though having qualities of life.
  2. (horror fiction) Being animate, though non-living.


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English Wikipedia has an article on:

the undead pl (plural only)

  1. (horror fiction) Those creatures which are undead; that is, dead yet still animate.
    In the zombie movie, an army of the undead accosted some nubile skinny-dipping teenagers.
    • 2017 July 16, Brandon Nowalk, “Chickens and dragons come home to roost on Game Of Thrones (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      It’s an episode of characters returning to their own pasts as different people. They can retrench like Cersei, back on her bullshit, I mean, warpath. Or they can adapt, like The Hound. Neither way necessarily ensures success, but we know the archmaester isn’t unequivocally right. We’ve seen dragons reborn and armies of the undead. I wouldn’t be so sure that Wall will stand forever.



undead (plural undeads)

  1. (horror fiction) A creature that is undead; that is, dead but still animate.
    • 1983, Tanith Lee}, The Wars of Vis
      "You will do me a service," the undead said to him.
    • 1997, Carol Margaret Davison, Paul Simpson-Housley, Bram Stoker's Dracula: sucking through the century, 1897-1997
      Innocent VIII lent credibility to the actual existence of undeads, an action that perpetuated, and even stimulated, vampire hysteria.

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