Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective defunct contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of defunct are dead, deceased, departed, and late. While all these words mean "devoid of life," defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation.

a defunct television series

When is dead a more appropriate choice than defunct?

The meanings of dead and defunct largely overlap; however, 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

How does the word deceased relate to other synonyms for defunct?

Deceased, departed, and late apply to persons who have died recently. Deceased is the preferred term in legal use.

the estate of the deceased

When might departed be a better fit than defunct?

The words departed and defunct are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, departed is used usually as a euphemism.

our departed sister

When would late be a good substitute for defunct?

While in some cases nearly identical to defunct, late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status.

the company's late president

Thesaurus Entries Near defunct

Cite this Entry

“Defunct.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on defunct

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