\ ˈded How to pronounce dead (audio) \

Definition of dead

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : deprived of life : no longer alive a dead tree dead soldiers missing and presumed dead
2a(1) : having the appearance of death : deathly in a dead faint
(2) : lacking power to move, feel, or respond : numb my arm feels dead
b : very tired Our legs were completely dead after the hike.
c(1) : incapable of being stirred emotionally or intellectually : unresponsive a heart dead to pity felt dead inside
(2) : grown cold : extinguished dead coals
3a : inanimate, inert dead matter
b : barren, infertile dead soil
c : no longer producing or functioning : exhausted a dead battery
4a(1) : lacking power or effect a dead law
(2) : no longer having interest, relevance, or significance a dead issue
b : no longer in use : obsolete a dead language
c : no longer active : extinct a dead volcano
d : lacking in gaiety or animation a dead party
e(1) : lacking in commercial activity : quiet The city is dead after five o'clock.
(2) : commercially idle or unproductive dead capital
f : lacking elasticity (see elasticity sense 1a) a dead tennis ball
g : being out of action or out of use The phone went dead. specifically, electrical engineering : free from any connection to a source of voltage and free from electric charges a dead electrical circuit
h(1) sports and games : being out of play a dead ball
(2) croquet : temporarily forbidden to play or to make a certain play
5a : not running or circulating : stagnant dead water
b : not turning the dead center of a lathe
c mechanical engineering : not imparting motion or power although otherwise functioning a dead rear axle
d : lacking warmth, vigor, or taste The fire was dead. a dead wine
6a : absolutely uniform a dead level of mediocrity
b(1) : unerring a dead shot with a rifle
(2) : exact dead center of the target
(3) : certain to be doomed he's dead if he's late for curfew
(4) : irrevocable a dead loss
c : abrupt brought to a dead stop
d(1) : complete, absolute a dead silence
(2) : all-out caught it on the dead run
7 : devoid of former occupants dead villages
dead in the water
1 : incapable of being effective : stalled peace talks were dead in the water
2 : as good as dead : doomed most books are dead in the water long before their publication— Phillip Lopate
dead to rights
: with no chance of escape or excuse : red-handed had him dead to rights for the robbery
over one's dead body
: only by overcoming one's utter and determined resistance vows that they'll raise his taxes over his dead body


plural dead

Definition of dead (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : someone who is no longer alive : one that is dead (see dead entry 1 sense 1) usually used collectively They were among the dead.
2 : the state of being dead raised him from the dead — Colossians 2:12 (Revised Standard Version)
3 : the time of greatest quiet the dead of night



Definition of dead (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : absolutely, utterly dead certain finished dead last The room became dead quiet.— Farley Mowat
2 : suddenly and completely stopped dead in his tracks
3 : directly dead ahead

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Other Words from dead


deadness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dead

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adverb

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Choose the Right Synonym for dead


dead, defunct, deceased, departed, late mean devoid of life. dead applies literally to what is deprived of vital force but is used figuratively of anything that has lost any attribute (such as energy, activity, radiance) suggesting life. a dead, listless performance defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation. a defunct television series deceased, departed, and late apply to persons who have died recently. deceased is the preferred term in legal use. the estate of the deceased departed is used usually as a euphemism. our departed sister late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status. the company's late president

Examples of dead in a Sentence

Adjective Her husband is dead. He died last year. He was found dead in his apartment yesterday. He lay dead on the floor. The lost mountain climbers were believed dead. The poster said that the robbers were wanted dead or alive. Our legs were completely dead after hiking all day. I'm dead if I come in late for work again. If I ever get my hands on you, you're dead! Noun By the end of the war, there were over two million dead. He began his journey in the dead of winter. Adverb She's dead certain that she can finish the job. We were dead tired by the end of the day. He's not joking. In fact, he's dead serious. They were both dead drunk and passed out on the floor. She finished the race dead last.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Fireballs had burned his arm, and a fellow cop, Dominick Pezzulo, laid dead beside him. Diane Herbst,, 10 Sep. 2021 An 11-year-old girl who played dead survived the attack despite being shot multiple times and has undergone four surgeries so far, Judd said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2021 Andy Williams, officers found two dead victims, a 4-year-old girl and 9-year-old girl, in a bed inside the residence with no obvious signs of trauma. Haleigh Kochanski, The Arizona Republic, 10 Sep. 2021 The warmth in the steam room prepares the skin for exfoliation by breaking up dead skin cells. Gregory Burnett, cleveland, 10 Sep. 2021 For much of the morning, Paul Steiger, the paper’s 59-year-old managing editor and its journalistic North Star, was missing and feared dead. Dean Rotbart, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2021 Judd said the girl played dead and was able to survive despite wounds to her legs, hand and abdomen. CBS News, 10 Sep. 2021 Without a body, Denise Williams petitioned to have her husband declared dead due to accidental drowning., 10 Sep. 2021 Stote used his dead brother-in-law’s identity to access his bank account, records show. Eileen Kelley,, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But not soon after, coworker and friend Claire Conway (Bel Powley) discovers her dead from an overdose. Ally Mauch,, 10 Sep. 2021 Survivors of the attacks as well as those who mourn their dead are expected to pack the rooms, which were designed to hold 1,800 plaintiffs and 350 lawyers. Fox News, 8 Sep. 2021 The dead include two teachers at a Texas junior high school who died last week within days of each other; a 13-year-old middle-school boy from Georgia; and a pregnant nurse, 37, in Southern California who left behind five children. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 4 Sep. 2021 Tillamook and Josephine counties requested refrigerated trucks from the state last week after morgues and funeral homes ran out of space to hold the dead. oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2021 The dead include two Texas teachers at a junior high, who died last week within days of each other; a 13-year-old middle schoolboy from Georgia; and a pregnant nurse, 37, in Southern California who left behind five children., 3 Sep. 2021 The dead include two Texas teachers at a junior high, who died last week within days of each other; a 13-year-old middle schoolboy from Georgia; and a nurse, 37, in Southern California who left behind five children, including a newborn. Anchorage Daily News, 3 Sep. 2021 The dead include two people killed Monday night when seven vehicles plunged into a 20-foot-deep hole near Lucedale, Mississippi, where a highway had collapsed after torrential rains. Chevel Johnson,, 1 Sep. 2021 During the dead of a Minnesota winter, a woman can buy a diaphanous beach cover-up for her trip to Tulum. Anne Bratskeir, Travel + Leisure, 1 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Detroit ranked dead last in yards and points in both of Barry’s seasons running the defense. Rob Reischel, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Manchester comes in dead last in the number of public computers per 1,000 people. Jesse Leavenworth,, 8 Sep. 2021 The offense is looking to turn the page on a dismal performance, one that saw the team finish dead-last in the conference in total offense. Matt Murschel,, 2 Sep. 2021 As a team, the Reds are dead last in the majors in batting average against lefties and 28th in OPS. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 1 Sep. 2021 Its vaccination rate remained dead last in the country - or at least used to be. al, 1 Sep. 2021 Florida ranks dead last — 50th out of 50 states — in banking job salaries, according to ZipRecruiter, the online job search site. David Lyons,, 30 Aug. 2021 Richardson finished ninth in the 100 meters in the Prefontaine Classic, dead last in a shockingly slow 11.14 seconds. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Aug. 2021 First responders rendered first aid to Wakefield and transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE. Kyler Alvord,, 25 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dead.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dead


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dead

Adjective, Noun, and Adverb

Middle English deed, from Old English dēad; akin to Old Norse dauthr dead, deyja to die, Old High German tōt dead — more at die

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Time Traveler for dead

Time Traveler

The first known use of dead was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near dead



dead's part

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Statistics for dead

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dead.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for dead



English Language Learners Definition of dead

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: no longer alive or living : no longer having life
: not able to feel or move
: very tired



English Language Learners Definition of dead (Entry 2 of 3)

: people who have died
: the state of being dead
: the time in the middle of the night or winter



English Language Learners Definition of dead (Entry 3 of 3)

: completely or totally
: in a sudden and complete way
: directly or exactly


\ ˈded How to pronounce dead (audio) \

Kids Definition of dead

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : no longer living … the spider rolled over onto its back, unmarked, but unmistakably dead.— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2 : having the look of death a dead faint
4 : very tired That was hard work. I'm dead.
5 : lacking motion, activity, energy, or power to function a dead battery
6 : no longer in use dead languages
7 : no longer active a dead volcano
8 : lacking warmth or vigor Make sure the fire is dead.
9 : not lively This party is dead.
10 : accurate, precise a dead shot
11 : being sudden and complete The ride came to a dead stop.
12 : complete entry 1 sense 1, total dead silence
13 : facing certain punishment If we get caught, we're dead.


plural dead

Kids Definition of dead (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a person who is no longer alive
Hint: This sense of dead is usually used for all people who are no longer alive.
the living and the dead
2 : the time of greatest quiet or least activity the dead of night



Kids Definition of dead (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : in a whole or complete manner dead tired
2 : suddenly and completely stopped dead
3 : straight entry 2 sense 2 dead ahead


\ ˈded How to pronounce dead (audio) \

Medical Definition of dead

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : deprived of life : having died dead of scarlet fever
2 : lacking power to move, feel, or respond : numb


plural dead

Medical Definition of dead (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is dead usually used collectively

More from Merriam-Webster on dead

Nglish: Translation of dead for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dead for Arabic Speakers


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