1 the final cessation of vital functions in an organism; the ending of life.
2 the event that terminates life.
3 a the fact or process of being killed or killing (stone to death; fight to the death). b the fact or state of being dead (eyes closed in death; their deaths caused rioting).
4 a the destruction or permanent cessation of something (was the death of our hopes). b colloq. something terrible or appalling.
5 (usu. Death) a personification of death, esp. as a destructive power, usu. represented by a skeleton.
6 a lack of religious faith or spiritual life.
Phrases and idioms:
as sure as death quite certain. at death's door close to death. be in at the death
1 be present when an animal is killed, esp. in hunting.
2 witness the (esp. sudden) ending of an enterprise etc.
be the death of
1 cause the death of.
2 be very harmful to. catch one's death colloq. catch a serious chill etc. death adder any of various venomous snakes of the genus Acanthopis esp. A. antarcticus of Australia. death cap a poisonous toadstool, Amanita phalloides. death cell a prison cell for a person condemned to death. death certificate an official statement of the cause and date and place of a person's death. death duty Brit. hist. a tax levied on property after the owner's death.
Replaced in 1975 by capital transfer tax and in 1986 by inheritance tax. death grant Brit. a State grant towards funeral expenses. death-knell
1 the tolling of a bell to mark a person's death.
2 an event that heralds the end or destruction of something. death-mask a cast taken of a dead person's face. death penalty punishment by being put to death. death rate the number of deaths per thousand of population per year. death-rattle a gurgling sound sometimes heard in a dying person's throat.
1 those killed in an accident, battle, etc.
2 a list of these. death row US a prison block or section for prisoners sentenced to death. death's head a human skull as an emblem of mortality. death's head moth a large dark hawk moth, Acherontia atropos, with skull-like markings on the back of the thorax. death squad an armed paramilitary group formed to kill political enemies etc. death tax US a tax on property payable on the owner's death. death-toll the number of people killed in an accident, battle, etc. death-trap colloq. a dangerous or unhealthy building, vehicle, etc.
1 an order for the execution of a condemned person.
2 anything that causes the end of an established practice etc. death-watch (in full death-watch beetle) a small beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum) which makes a sound like a watch ticking, once supposed to portend death, and whose larva bores in old wood. death-wish Psychol. a desire (usu. unconscious) for the death of oneself or another.
do to death
1 kill.
2 overdo. fate worse than death colloq. a disastrous misfortune or experience. like death warmed up sl. very tired or ill. put to death kill or cause to be killed. to death to the utmost, extremely (bored to death; worked to death).
deathless adj. deathlessness n. deathlike adj.
Etymology: OE death f. Gmc: rel. to DIE(1)

Useful english dictionary. 2012.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • death — ► NOUN 1) the action or fact of dying. 2) an instance of a person or an animal dying. 3) the state of being dead. 4) the end of something. ● at death s door Cf. ↑at death s door ● …   English terms dictionary

  • death — [deth] n. [ME deth < OE dēath, akin to OS dōth, OHG tōd, ON dauthi: see DEAD] 1. the act or fact of dying; permanent ending of all life in a person, animal, or plant 2. [D ] the personification of death, usually pictured as a skeleton in a… …   English World dictionary

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