\ 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c : no longer active : extinct a dead volcano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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sunday evening, a man was found shot dead inside a burning home there. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 13 May 2022 The Palestinian-American journalist was shot dead on Wednesday while reporting on Israeli military raids in the West Bank city of Jenin. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, 13 May 2022 Abu Akleh was shot dead Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank. Sufian Taha, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 Abu Akleh, a correspondent for the Al Jazeera news channel, was shot dead Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank., 13 May 2022 Vadim Shishimarin shot dead a 62-year-old man in a village in northeastern Ukraine. James Marson, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Siegel was shot dead in 1947 in Beverly Hills, California. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 Siegel was shot dead in 1947 in Beverly Hills, California. Ken Ritter, Anchorage Daily News, 10 May 2022 Siegel was shot dead in 1947 in Beverly Hills, California. CBS News, 10 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But can there ever be a peaceful co-existence, as Kaylon crew member Isaac (Mark Jackson) hopes, if one race wants the other dead? Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 13 May 2022 Medics pronounced a 29-year-old dead at the scene, while the other man was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 18 Apr. 2022 The Douglasville Police Department is investigating a shooting that left a 15-year-old dead. Wilborn Nobles, ajc, 31 Dec. 2021 Two people have been charged for a September car crash that left a 7-year-old dead. Johnny Magdaleno, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Nov. 2021 Howard County police are investigating a fatal two-vehicle collision that left a 17-year-old dead in West Friendship on Tuesday night. Erin Hardy,, 23 Sep. 2020 Meanwhile, her husband, Vitalii, a repairman for heavy vehicles, has been digging graves in Kyiv to bury the dead. Amandas Ong, ELLE, 3 May 2022 Police officers responding to reports of shots fired arrived on the scene and found the 33-year-old dead from multiple gunshot wounds, lying next to the open door of his Volkswagen Atlas. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 But the dead are also revered in the Argentinian capital, perhaps more so than anywhere else in Latin America, thanks largely to the spectacular Recoleta cemetery. Richard Quest And Joe Minihane, CNN, 27 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb At least three people are dead following a car crash near the Allegheny train station in Philadelphia, police said. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 10 May 2022 Two men are dead following a shooting in South Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood early Wednesday morning, police said. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 27 Apr. 2022 Anyone who claimed Cage didn’t care about his career during this era was dead wrong. Zack Sharf, Variety, 18 Apr. 2022 Deputies are asking for tips about the killing of a man found dead earlier this month in the Columbia Slough. oregonlive, 19 Apr. 2022 That loyalty and love for her family and friends is something Brown will miss after her lifelong friend and University of Illinois alum was found dead earlier this week in the 7200 block of South Vincennes Avenue on the South Side. Stephanie Casanova,, 27 Mar. 2022 Echaniz was found dead next to his car just before 7 a.m. on March 10 outside his apartment at 4801 Gus Eckert Road. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 24 Mar. 2022 Kelsey Small, the girlfriend of Adam Montgomery — who was arrested in January two years after the mysterious disappearance of his daughter, 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery — was found dead earlier this month. Olivia Jakiel,, 24 Mar. 2022 The man was found dead early Sunday alongside Interstate 10 west of Mobile, Alabama., 8 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dead.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dead


\ 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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