dead

adjective
\ 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c : no longer active : extinct a dead volcano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

dead

noun
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

dead

adverb

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

Adjective

deadness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dead

Synonyms: Adjective

asleep, breathless, cold, deceased, defunct, demised, departed, fallen, gone, late, lifeless, low

Synonyms: Noun

deadness, death, grave, lifelessness, nothingness, sleep

Synonyms: Adverb

direct, directly, due, plumb, plump, right, straight, straightway

Antonyms: Adjective

alive, animate, breathing, going, live, living, quick

Antonyms: Noun

existence, life

Antonyms: Adverb

indirectly

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Choose the Right Synonym for dead

Adjective

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

By midday Friday, however, hopes of finding Zixin -- alive or dead -- had faded as the search operation was called off amid rainy weather and choppy sea. Steven Jiang, CNN, "Zhang Zixin: Chinese police rush to find missing girl as case grips nation," 12 July 2019 The unnamed suspect was reported dead at approximately 11:45 p.m. after a high-speed chase saw his vehicle hit a thicket of trees near to the shoreline, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Christopher Harress | Charress@al.com, al.com, "Man found dead on Mobile’s Bayway after 115 mph police chase ends with shootout," 12 July 2019 There is the director of a provincial intensive-care unit who keeps a brain-dead woman nominally alive on a ventilator for six weeks in order to pad the hospital’s statistics. Laura Kolbe, WSJ, "‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ Review: Wishing and Waiting," 12 July 2019 Things took a sharp turn in 2017, when 17 right whales were found dead along the Eastern seaboard—12 in Canadian waters and five in U.S. waters. Nick Hawkins, National Geographic, "6 recent deaths push rare whales closer to extinction," 11 July 2019 Authorities maintain that Fernández’s cousin, Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez, was the mastermind of the plot and wanted Fernández dead for betraying him to police several years ago, leading to his arrest in 2011. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "David Ortiz undergoes third surgery for complications from gunshot wound," 11 July 2019 The man — identified by family members as 21-year-old Lawrence Renfro — was discovered dead in his main-floor unit at Oakdale Terrace apartment complex just before 11 a.m. Tuesday. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "West St. Paul shooting leaves 21-year-old man dead, family members say," 10 July 2019 Marie is a cold-blooded Christian known to cast spells, revive the dead and bury non-believing relatives underground for extended periods as punishment. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, "5 things you might not know about Fort Worth's Broadway diva Betty Buckley, starring in 'Hello, Dolly!' tour," 10 July 2019 Commissioners and opponents wondered what would happen if poisoned gulls on the Farallones flew to San Francisco and began dropping dead. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "U.S. wildlife agency pulls plan to poison mice on Farallon Islands — for now," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The dead also include 869 pro-government fighters and troops as well as 945 insurgents, according to the Observatory. Bassem Mroue, SFChronicle.com, "Stalled Idlib campaign shows limits of Syrian, Russian power," 13 July 2019 This assertion of the dead into the sphere of the living is evident throughout the island, but there’s a particular element of Jamaican culture that demonstrates it most powerfully, and that is the foundation of Jamaican music: the soundsystem. Erin Macleod, The New York Review of Books, "Dancehall: Raising the Voices of the Dead," 22 May 2019 When a new mourner arrives, the music slows and a prayer or memory of the dead is announced. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "Mourning refugees risk a war zone to bury their dead at home," 20 June 2019 Among the dead was a 4-year-old girl shot in the head in her mother’s arms, according to authorities. Washington Post, "Leader or killer? A day with ‘Barbecue’ in Haiti’s capital," 7 June 2019 Among the dead was a 4-year-old girl shot in the head in her mother's arms, according to authorities. Fox News, "Leader or killer? A day with 'Barbecue' in Haiti's capital," 7 June 2019 Among the dead was a Newtown resident who was revived, did get hospitalized and was released. Terry Demio, Cincinnati.com, "OD alert issued after 23 overdose calls, 12 hospitalized in 24 hours," 1 Apr. 2019 When the dead and buried don’t petrify, there are other ways that save them from destruction and preserve parts of their bodies with little change over vast spans of geological time. Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Smithsonian, "How Do Fossils Form?," 8 June 2019 There were dead and wounded everywhere, but we were told not to help anybody. John D. Hollis, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Honor our WWII veterans while they are still among us," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

In December 2015, gunmen shot dead some 28 mostly Christian teachers on a bus heading home to Mandera from Nairobi for the Christmas holiday. Fox News, "Kenya's president blunt on scourge of al-Shabab: 'I would be lying to you if I said that we had dealt with the problem'," 4 July 2019 Five years of legalization have yielded stories of haunting deaths: A father of three who shot his wife dead after eating edibles. Jack Healy, New York Times, "Reefer Madness or Pot Paradise? The Surprising Legacy of the Place Where Legal Weed Began," 30 June 2019 Doctors pronounced him dead less than an hour after the crash, at 2:21 p.m. Neither Witzeman nor the woman on the other rental scooter was believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arizona man died of chest injuries in Mission Beach scooter crash, authorities say," 26 June 2019 Qantas and British Airways , Singapore, Korean and others say miles go dead when the traveler dies. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "A Thorny Inheritance Issue: Frequent-Flier Miles," 19 June 2019 Federal scientists are trying to determine why an extraordinary number of dolphins have turned up dead along the Gulf Coast. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "Dolphins along the Gulf Coast are dying at triple the normal rate, scientists say," 16 June 2019 All of those numbers rank dead last, with the OPS stat being the most egregious. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants’ first-inning failures are simply staggering, show up again in another blowout," 19 June 2019 Behind him, a number of American soldiers lay dead, shredded in the strafing run. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "On D-Day, San Antonio veterans recall faces of war that never fade," 6 June 2019 More: Two brothers, hockey players, dead on same day of opioid overdose. Indianapolis Star, "Indy Fuel name Doug Christiansen as head coach," 14 June 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

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Adverb

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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More Definitions for dead

dead

adjective

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

dead

noun

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

dead

adverb

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

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

dead

adjective
\ 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.

dead

noun
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

dead

adverb

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

dead

adjective
\ 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

dead

noun
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

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