Definition of death noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//deθ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//deθ//
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  1. 1  [countable] the fact of somebody dying or being killed a sudden/violent/peaceful, etc. death the anniversary of his wife’s death an increase in deaths from cancer He died a slow and painful death. See related entries: Death
  2. 2  [uncountable] the end of life; the state of being dead Two children were burnt to death in the fire (= they died as a result of the fire). He's drinking himself to death (= so that it will kill him). Police are trying to establish the cause of death. Do you believe in life after death? a death camp (= a place where prisoners are killed, usually in a war) He was sentenced to death (= to be executed).
  3. 3  [uncountable] death of something the permanent end or destruction of something the death of all my plans the death of fascism
  4. 4(also Death) [uncountable] (literary) the power that destroys life, imagined as human in form Death is often shown in paintings as a human skeleton. Death marched in and took him away.
  5. see also sudden death
    Word OriginOld English dēath, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dood and German Tod, also to die.Extra examples By 1740 European feudalism was in its death throes. By publicly condemning the terrorists he was signing his own death warrant. Chicago’s birth and death records Delivering on time is a matter of life and death for a small company. Do you believe in life after death? Four prisoners were under sentence of death. He died as a prisoner of war in an enemy death camp. He escaped death by inches when a tree fell on his tent. He had been miraculously saved from almost certain death. He met his death two years later. He took drugs as if he had some kind of death wish. He witnessed the death of his mother from tuberculosis. Her death came at the age of 82. His face looked more peaceful in death than it had during his last days. How far would they go to avenge the death of their friend? If found guilty of drug trafficking, the pair could face the death penalty. Incest was punishable by death. It was clear that the dog was near death. It’s a curious sensation, knowing that your death is approaching soon. It’s easier to trace ancestors if you know their birth or death dates. More deaths occur in winter. More than 30% of all cancer deaths in the country can be attributed to smoking. No deaths from the disease have been recorded since 1990. Obesity is a leading cause of preventable deaths. On Samuel’s death, the farm passed to his sons. Paramilitary death squads are operating in the area. Paramilitary death squads are rumoured to be operating in the area. People can sue for wrongful death. Police are not treating the death as suspicious. Police report a decrease in violent deaths. Poor living conditions can lead to early death. She died a slow and painful death. She faked her own death so he couldn’t find her. The actor has received death threats since appearing in the controversial film. The average age at death of plague victims was 14. The bombing resulted in many civilian deaths. The brutal attack resulted in the man’s death. The coroner said the cause of death was a stroke. The death toll in the earthquake has been put at over one thousand. The government’s campaign aims to cut the death rate from heart attacks. The most common cause of neonatal death is birth defects. The movie contains plenty of death scenes. The president’s untimely death has thrown the country into chaos. The prisoners were sent on a death march through the jungle. The snake was writhing in its death agonies. There are currently over 3 000 prisoners on death row. They are still mourning the death of their daughter. Touching the wires means instant death. Two deaths from cholera have been reported. What kind of man orders the death of his own sister? Women accounted for 2% of all combat deaths. Your next of kin will receive death benefit if you die in an accident. a death notice in the newspaper a service to commemorate the death of thousands of soldiers a verdict of accidental death an increase in drug overdose deaths death by starvation deaths resulting from disease drugs which will hasten the death of a terminally ill patient needless deaths in a war created by hatred the drivers who bring death to our roads the living death of captivity the tragic death of their son Police are still trying to establish the cause of death. Two children were burnt to death in the fire. a sudden/​violent/​peaceful death the anniversary of his wife’s deathIdioms (often humorous) so ill/sick that you may die I suppose you won’t be coming to the party if you’re at death’s door! See related entries: Being ill
    be the death of somebody
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    (informal) to worry or upset somebody very much Those kids will be the death of me.
    catch your death (of cold)
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    (old-fashioned, informal) to catch a very bad cold
    (often used in newspapers) to survive in a situation where you could have died (informal) to risk your life by doing something that you know is dangerous (British English, informal) to fail completely The play got terrible reviews and quickly died a death. to do or perform something so often that people become tired of seeing or hearing it That joke's been done to death.
    a fate worse than death
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    (often humorous) a terrible thing that could happen At the last minute the hero saves her from a fate worse than death.
    fight shy of something/of doing something
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    to be unwilling to accept something or do something, and to try to avoid it Successive governments have fought shy of such measures.
    flog something to death
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    (British English, informal) to use an idea, a story, etc. so often that it is no longer interesting The story has been flogged to death in the press.
    frighten/scare somebody to death
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    to frighten somebody very much Spiders frighten him to death.
    hang/hold on for/like grim death (British English) (also hang/hold on for dear life North American English, British English)
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    (informal) to hold somebody/something very tightly because you are afraid
    (informal, especially humorous) an event that seems good, but is certain to make something else fail An award can be the kiss of death for a writer. the possibility or belief that people continue to exist in some form after they die Do you believe in life after death?
    look/feel like death warmed up (British English) (North American English like death warmed over)
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    (informal) to look or feel very ill/sick or tired
    a matter of life and death
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    used to describe a situation that is very important or serious
    to kill somebody as a punishment synonym execute The prisoner will be put to death at dawn. extremely; very much to be bored to death I'm sick to death of your endless criticism. until somebody is dead a fight to the death
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: death