death

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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 characterWilkie 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
5
a
: 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
Phrases
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Advertisement The name of the deceased motorcyclist, or other identifying information, was not released, and the specific cause of death will be determined by the coroner, Andler said. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2024 The cause of death for both children was gunshot wound of the chest, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. Harriet Ramos, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7 July 2024 Since then, the number of deaths nationwide has declined to an estimated 40,990 last year. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 7 July 2024 Her cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 7 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for death 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'death.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near death

Cite this Entry

“Death.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/death. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

death

noun
1
: the permanent stopping of all the vital bodily activities (as the beating of the heart and working of the brain) : the end of life
2
: the cause of loss of life
drinking was the death of him
3
capitalized : the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe
4
: the state of being dead
5
deathlike
-ˌlīk
adjective

Medical Definition

death

noun
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

Legal Definition

death

noun
: 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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