noun \ˈdeth\

Definition of death

  1. 1a :  a permanent cessation of all vital (see vital 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 deathb :  an instance of dying a disease causing many deaths lived there until her death

  2. 2a :  the cause or occasion of loss of life drinking was the death of himb :  a cause of ruin the slander that was death to my character — Wilkie Collins The drought was death to the farm.

  3. 3 capitalized, folklore :  the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe when death comes to take me away

  4. 4 :  the state of being no longer alive :  the state of being dead

  5. 5a :  the passing or destruction of something inanimate the death of vaudevilleb :  extinction the death of the dinosaurs

  6. 6 law :  civil death

  7. 7 :  slaughter death and destruction

  8. 8 Christian Science :  the lie of life in matter :  that which is unreal and untrue

at death's door

  1. :  close to death :  critically ill

to death

  1. :  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

  1. birth, life, and eventual death

  2. The newspaper did not report the cause of death.

  3. People around the world mourned his death.

  4. The accident resulted in two deaths.

  5. The number of deaths from cancer is rising.

  6. He died a violent death.

  7. There has been a death in the family.

  8. The general met his death on the battlefield.

  9. the death of a marriage

  10. Death could be seen lurking in the corner of the painting.

Origin and Etymology of death

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

First Known Use: before 12th century

DEATH Defined for English Language Learners


noun \ˈdeth\

Definition of death for English Language Learners

  • : the end of life : the time when someone or something dies

  • : the ending of a particular person's life

  • : the permanent end of something that is not alive : the ruin or destruction of something

DEATH Defined for Kids


noun \ˈdeth\

Definition of death for Students

  1. 1 :  the end or ending of life

  2. 2 :  the cause of loss of life Drinking will be the death of him.

  3. 3 :  the state of being dead He was more famous in death than in life.

  4. 4 :  2ruin 1, extinction DVDs meant the death of videotape.


\-ˌlīk\ adjective

to death

  1. :  1very 1, extremely We were scared to death.

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈdeth\

Medical Definition of death

  1. 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. 2:  the cause or occasion of loss of life drinking was the death of him

  3. 3:  the state of being dead in death as in life

Law Dictionary



Legal Definition of death

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

Additional Notes on death

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

Seen and Heard

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


to criticize severely

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