\ 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c : no longer active : extinct a dead volcano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, 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 In November, K-pop singer Goo Hara, 28, was found dead at her home in Seoul. Washington Post, "Two K-pop stars sentenced to prison for gang raping unconscious women," 29 Nov. 2019 In the film’s opening moments, an elderly patriarch (played by Christopher Plummer) is found dead in his study. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Unlikely Hero of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out," 29 Nov. 2019 On Sunday, K-pop musician and actress Goo Hara was found dead at her home in Seoul. NBC News, "K-pop stars get prison terms for sexual crimes," 29 Nov. 2019 On Sunday, K-pop musician and actress Goo Hara was found dead at her home in Seoul. USA TODAY, "K-pop stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon convicted of 'special quasi-raping'," 29 Nov. 2019 Collins, an outspoken conservative lawmaker and opponent of gun control, was found dead at her home in Pocahontas on June 4. John Moritz, Arkansas Online, "4th judge assigned in Arkansas ex-senator's death case," 28 Nov. 2019 Redlick, 46, is charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the killing of 65-year-old Michael Redlick, a University of Central Florida faculty member found dead in their Temple Drive home Jan. 12. Monivette Cordeiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Winter Park woman accused of killing UCF faculty member husband wants judge to let her bond out of jail," 27 Nov. 2019 The charges stem from the death of Brandy A. Beaudry, 44, of West Allis who was found dead in her bedroom along the 8800 block of West Boone Avenue on Nov. 18, according to the criminal complaint. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Drug dealer charged after a West Allis woman died of a cocaine overdose," 27 Nov. 2019 Gloria Davis, 56, was found dead with multiple stab wounds at her home Monday when officers responded to a call of an injured woman at 3:30 a.m., the St. Petersburg Police Department said. Fox News, "Florida boy, 13, accused of fatally stabbing grandmother appears in court," 26 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most of the dead and injured Friday in Sacaba, near the city of Cochabamba, had been shot, Guadalberto Lara, director of the town’s Mexico Hospital, told The Associated Press. Fox News, "Bolivia's political crisis sparks dangerous clashes, 8 killed," 17 Nov. 2019 Hospital director Guadalberto Lara told The Associated Press that most of the dead and injured in the town of Sacaba had bullet wounds. Washington Post, "Clashes in Bolivia challenge interim government; 5 dead," 16 Nov. 2019 By the end of his first year on the job, the city saw thousands of shooting incidents, the number of dead totaled nearly 800 — or 300 more than just the year before. CBS News, "Chicago top cop Eddie Johnson announces retirement," 7 Nov. 2019 The ranks of the dead aren’t filled with people, but animals that lived 66 million years ago. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Fossil Site Reveals How Mammals Thrived After the Death of the Dinosaurs," 25 Oct. 2019 One of the dead was a German citizen who lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. NBC News, "Suspected gunman in El Paso Walmart shooting pleads not guilty to attack that killed 22," 11 Oct. 2019 The central belief is that the spirits of the dead are allowed to rejoin the living on November 1 and 2. Hannah Chubb, PEOPLE.com, "Trader Joe’s is Selling $4 Sugar Skull Succulent Planters to Celebrate Day of the Dead," 26 Sep. 2019 Abdul Majed Akhund, deputy provincial councilman, said that the majority of the dead are women and children who were at a wedding ceremony that was taking place in Musa Qala district. chicagotribune.com, "40 civilians killed at wedding party in Afghanistan raid on Taliban hideouts, officials say," 23 Sep. 2019 But speaking ill and thinking ill of the dead are not the same. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: Does an unmarried couple deserve a housewarming?," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb This Day and the $2 million Turf with Johar, who dead-heats with High Chaparral. Paul Montella, San Diego Union-Tribune, "AP Sportlight," 20 Oct. 2019 In another mural, two Native Americans are armed with rifles, while others, backed by French soldiers, attack colonial soldiers; three surrender, one lies dead on the ground. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "The Case for Keeping San Francisco’s Disputed George Washington Murals," 26 July 2019 After the gunman opened fire, Kenneth French, 32, of Riverside, lay dead next to two of his relatives, who remain in critical condition. Editors, USA TODAY, "Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend," 16 June 2019 When the smoke cleared, the borders were still in place and 15 Palestinians lay dead, with three more succumbing later from injuries. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Arab Leaders Abandon the Palestinians," 2 Apr. 2018 Broward Deputy Scot Peterson stands safely behind a concrete wall taking no action as high school students lay dead and wounded just feet away, newly released video of the Florida school shooting shows. Fox News, "Broward Deputy Scot Peterson seen standing outside during Florida school shooting in new video," 15 Mar. 2018 Writers and broadcasters suggesting the Nationals were the first team from Washington since the 1924 Senators to win a World Series were dead wrong. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Why A.J. Hinch is no Bruce Bochy and Giants are ‘Team of Decade’," 31 Oct. 2019 The owner of the shop that provided us the monthly provisions was shot dead too. Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, Quartz India, "The citizens’ register is the latest wound in Assam’s long history of loss and hurt," 17 Sep. 2019 But if Hamza is truly dead, the prospects of him one day seizing the mantle of leadership and restoring al-Qaeda to its former (horrific) glory are dead too. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "Osama bin Laden’s son, the “Crown Prince of Terror,” is dead. Or is he?," 1 Aug. 2019

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 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dead.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dead?pronunciation&lang=en_us&file=dead0001. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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

Comments on dead

What made you want to look up dead? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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