death

noun
\ ˈdeth How to pronounce death (audio) \

Essential Meaning of death

1 : the end of life : the time when someone or something dies birth, life, and eventual death fear of death See More ExamplesShe is close to death. [=she will die soon] death threats The hostage managed to escape death. [=avoid being killed] The newspaper did not report the cause of death. She was convicted of murder and sentenced/condemned to death. [=told that she would be killed as punishment]Hide
2 : the ending of a particular person's life People around the world mourned his death. She worked at the newspaper until her death at (age) 74. See More ExamplesThe accident resulted in two deaths. The number of deaths from cancer is rising. He died a violent/tragic death. There has been a death in the family. She survived the plane crash and many years later died a natural death. [=from natural causes; because she was old] The general met his death on the battlefield.Hide
3 : the permanent end of something that is not alive : the ruin or destruction of something the death of innocence the death of vaudeville the death of a marriage

Full Definition of death

1a : a permanent cessation of all vital (see vital sense 2a) functions : the end of life The cause of death has not been determined. managed to escape death prisoners were put to death death threats — compare brain death
b : an instance of dying a disease causing many deaths lived there until her death
2a : the cause or occasion of loss of life drinking was the death of him
b : a cause of ruin the slander that was death to my character— Wilkie Collins The drought was death to the farm.
3 capitalized, folklore : the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe when death comes to take me away
4 : the state of being no longer alive : the state of being dead
5a : the passing or destruction of something inanimate the death of vaudeville
b : extinction the death of the dinosaurs
6 law : civil death
7 : slaughter death and destruction
8 Christian Science : the lie of life in matter : that which is unreal and untrue
at death's door
: close to death : critically ill
to death
: beyond endurance : excessively bored to death scared to death of spiders I am sick to death of hearing your excuses. Most high rollers prefer Atlantic City and Las Vegas, where they are comped to death and have more diversions.— William G. Flanagan et al.

Examples of death in a Sentence

birth, life, and eventual death The newspaper did not report the cause of death. People around the world mourned his death. The accident resulted in two deaths. The number of deaths from cancer is rising. He died a violent death. There has been a death in the family. The general met his death on the battlefield. the death of a marriage Death could be seen lurking in the corner of the painting.
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Recent Examples on the Web The death is being investigated by the Waukesha Police Department, the Waukesha Medical Examiner's Office and railroad officials. Daphne Chen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 Jan. 2022 The case was reopened in 2011 following Chicago Sun-Times stories critical of the original police investigation into Koschman’s death in May 2004. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, 15 Jan. 2022 No other details surrounding the ex-football star's death were immediately made available. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 15 Jan. 2022 Receiver Henry Ruggs III was cut after being charged with DUI resulting in a death. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 15 Jan. 2022 The patriarch’s death set off a terrible sequence for the family. oregonlive, 15 Jan. 2022 Balkind’s death has brought forth waves of sympathy and support from the global hockey community but has also brought calls for change. Staff Reports, courant.com, 15 Jan. 2022 Jackson’s death was confirmed to Variety by Lyle Gregory, his close friend and producer of 30 years. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 15 Jan. 2022 After his near-death experience in the movie, Cena's Peacemaker is released into the custody of an elite team, charged with performing assassinations to stave off an existential peril basically hiding in plain view. Brian Lowry, CNN, 15 Jan. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'death.' 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 death

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

History and Etymology for death

Middle English deeth, from Old English dēath; akin to Old Norse dauthi death, deyja to die — more at die

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Time Traveler for death

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near death

deassimilation

death

death's-head

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Statistics for death

Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Death.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/death. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for death

death

noun
\ ˈdeth How to pronounce death (audio) \

Kids Definition of death

1 : the end or ending of life
2 : the cause of loss of life Drinking will be the death of him.
3 : the state of being dead He was more famous in death than in life.
4 : ruin entry 2 sense 1, extinction DVDs meant the death of videotape.
to death
: very entry 1 sense 1, extremely We were scared to death.

Other Words from death

deathlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

death

noun
\ ˈdeth How to pronounce death (audio) \

Medical Definition of death

1 : the irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity : the end of life — see brain death
2 : the cause or occasion of loss of life drinking was the death of him
3 : the state of being dead in death as in life

death

noun

Legal Definition of death

: a permanent cessation of all vital bodily functions : the end of life — see also brain death, civil death

Note: Death is usually defined by statute and for purposes of criminal homicide has been held to include brain death.

More from Merriam-Webster on death

Nglish: Translation of death for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of death for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about death

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