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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.


  • IPA(key): /ʌnˈdɛd/
  • Rhymes: -ɛd
  • (file)


undead (not comparable)

  1. Pertaining to a corpse, though having qualities of life.
  2. (horror fiction) Being animate, though non-living.
    • 2018 November 27, April Wolfe, “Anna And The Apocalypse is a Holiday-horror Cocktail of Singing, Maiming, and Clichés”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 4 November 2019:
      When Anna and John finally break out of their self-centered bubbles to the shock that they must battle to the death an undead neighbor in a giant snowman costume, it plays like a poignant comment on movie teenagers' tendency to indulge their inner lives, ignorant of the world around them.


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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[2]:
      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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