\ 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c : no longer active : extinct a dead volcano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 collectivelyThey 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 He was suspected of killing two people who were found dead that same night in a car on Flora Street. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "London Breed: Black mayor. Raised in poverty, surrounded by violence. How will she handle police reform?," 29 June 2020 On May 4, Janelle Lisa Cruz is found dead in Irvine. Ashley Chervinski, refinery29.com, "Use This Timeline To Follow The Golden State Killer Case In I’ll Be Gone In The Dark," 29 June 2020 The gunman fled the scene and was found dead inside his car in Morgan County just before 2 p.m., Winslow said. USA TODAY, "Two victims dead, one injured after warehouse shooting in Springfield, Illinois," 27 June 2020 Epstein was found dead in a federal detention facility in August 2019 before he could be brought to trial. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Jeffrey Epstein's accusers can now seek compensation from fund," 25 June 2020 Pettiford was found dead with multiple apparent gunshot wounds in her garage on the morning of June 17 by officers who were responding to a call for a welfare check, according to a police report. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Akron murder suspect found dead of apparent suicide in California, police say," 24 June 2020 Kenneth Fitzgerald Williams, a 58-year-old Black male, was found dead shortly after 9:30 a.m. June 15. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Family sought for man found dead in Birmingham home," 23 June 2020 The voice on the opposite end of the urgent 5:30 a.m. call had phoned to say that her brother Malcolm, the man who taught her to never give up, had been found dead, hanged from a tree in California. Segann March, Cincinnati.com, "'We're bringing him back home': Malcolm Harsch's sister speaks on Victorville hanging death," 19 June 2020 Marine mammals are routinely found dead, their bodies clogged with plastics. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Untangling the ocean trash glut, one ‘ghost net’ at a time," 19 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since it was established, there have been at least four shootings, two of which left a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old dead in separate incidents. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Seattle Mayor Durkan asks City Council to investigate, possibly expel socialist councilwoman over protest actions," 30 June 2020 June 9, Council member Jason Wilson suggested moving the statue to Forrest Cemetery, where some Civil War dead are buried. al, "‘This is hurtful': Gadsden struggles with fate of Emma Sansom Monument," 28 June 2020 Two years ago, Marian Croak was hiding in her office at Google’s YouTube offices, convinced the police would enter and shoot her dead. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Google’s Marian Croak Aimed for the Top. She Couldn’t Escape Racism.," 26 June 2020 Troops reportedly fought using rocks and clubs, and the dead include an Indian Army colonel. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Behind deadly clash with India, a pattern of Chinese assertiveness," 19 June 2020 During the dead of winter, your mitts can crack and hurt, but some sources of phalange anguish happen year-round, like dishwashing with harsh detergents and frequent temperature variation. Popular Science, "The best hand creams to soothe and protect your paws," 18 June 2020 Harris County Sheriff's Office is searching for the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash that left a 16-year-old dead. Shacamree Gowdy, Houston Chronicle, "Driver sought after 16-year-old on bicycle struck, killed in hit and run near Cypress," 18 June 2020 There are no power grabs in the dead of night, no tanks rolling down the streets, no uniformed officers taking over TV stations. Sheila Coronel, The Atlantic, "Democracy Dies by a Thousand Cuts," 16 June 2020 His death is consecrated by his performance, a ritual that the sudden dead are not afforded. Elizabeth Alexander, The New Yorker, "The Trayvon Generation," 15 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The 28-year-old man of Danish and Tanzanian descent was beaten, stabbed and found dead earlier this month in a forest in Rønne on the island of Bornholm, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet reported. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "A Black man was killed in Denmark by men with Nazi tattoo, but authorities say it wasn't racist," 1 July 2020 The victim was 58-year-old Glendale resident Benny Ortega, who was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after, police said. Emily Wilder, The Arizona Republic, "Man suspected of killing former coworker arrested in Glendale," 1 July 2020 The club finished fourth from last in the NFL in yards allowed in 2019 and dead last in rushing yards allowed. John Fay, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is virtually sure that the new talent will make things better," 25 June 2020 Black trans women are especially at risk for experiencing violence, and two were found dead earlier this month. Lydia Gerike, The Indianapolis Star, "'We are resilient': BlaQ Lives Matter recognizes Black queer community," 21 June 2020 Brooks was shot in the back and pronounced dead later at the hospital, according to authorities. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Tyler Perry offers to pay for Rayshard Brooks' funeral," 15 June 2020 Dodge became the first U.S. brand to nab the number one spot in the latest annual quality survey from J.D. Power — with Tesla ranking dead last. NBC News, "Tesla ranks dead last in latest auto quality survey," 12 May 2020 An outbreak on the scale of the 1918 flu—50 million dead worldwide—might be a one-in-500-year risk, an event way out on the tail of a probability curve. Evan Ratliff, Wired, "We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn't We?," 16 June 2020 While Trump is dead set against it, the secretary of the Army isn’t. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "White House Report Card: Trump moves to revive campaign, address race issues," 13 June 2020

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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Statistics for dead

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dead. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for dead

How to pronounce dead (audio)

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, 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
\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dead

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dead

Spanish Central: Translation of dead

Nglish: Translation of dead for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dead for Arabic Speakers

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