from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having lost life; no longer alive.
  • adjective Marked for certain death; doomed.
  • adjective Having the physical appearance of death.
  • adjective Lacking feeling or sensitivity; numb or unresponsive.
  • adjective Weary and worn-out; exhausted.
  • adjective Not having the capacity to live; inanimate or inert.
  • adjective Not having the capacity to produce or sustain life; barren.
  • adjective No longer in existence, use, or operation.
  • adjective No longer having significance or relevance.
  • adjective Physically inactive; dormant.
  • adjective Not commercially productive; idle.
  • adjective Not circulating or running; stagnant.
  • adjective Devoid of human or vehicular activity; quiet.
  • adjective Lacking all animation, excitement, or activity; dull.
  • adjective Having no resonance. Used of sounds.
  • adjective Having grown cold; having been extinguished.
  • adjective Lacking elasticity or bounce.
  • adjective Not working because of a fault or breakdown.
  • adjective Not connected to a source of electric current.
  • adjective Drained of electric charge; discharged.
  • adjective Sudden; abrupt.
  • adjective Complete; utter.
  • adjective Exact; unerring.
  • adjective Sports Out of play. Used of a ball.
  • noun People who have died.
  • noun The period exhibiting the greatest degree of intensity.
  • adverb Absolutely; altogether.
  • adverb Directly; exactly.
  • adverb Suddenly.
  • idiom (dead and buried) No longer in use or under consideration.
  • idiom (dead in the water) Unable to function or move.
  • idiom (dead to rights) In the very act of making an error or committing a crime.
  • idiom (dead to the world) Soundly asleep.
  • idiom (over my dead body) Used to express dramatic refusal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To become dead; lose life or force.
  • To make a complete failure in recitation.
  • To make dead; deprive of life, consciousness, force, or vigor; dull; deaden.
  • To cause to fail in recitation: said of a teacher who puzzles a scholar.
  • In golf, said of a ball: when it falls without rolling;
  • when it lies so near a hole that the player is “dead sure” to hole it;
  • when it lacks life or resiliency.
  • In electricity, said of a circuit which is not connected with any source of electric power, either directly, or indirectly, as by induction.
  • Said of molten metal when it is thick and sluggish, either from insufficient melting, or from having stood too long in a ladle.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ded, from Old English dēad; see dheu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English ded, deed, from Old English dēad, from Proto-Germanic *daudaz. Compare West Frisian dead, Dutch dood, German tot, Danish død.


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  • Total nonsense..dead guys doing spinal surgeries on dead guys and what not..

    Jayme Lynn Blaschke's Gibberish 2010

  • Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been _dead_ four days.

    The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young Richard Newton

  • In such a sentence as “That fierce lion who came here is dead, ” the class of “lion, ” which we may call the animal class, would be referred to by concording prefixes no less than six times, —with the demonstrative (“that”), the qualifying adjective, the noun itself, the relative pronoun, the subjective prefix to the verb of the relative clause, and the subjective prefix to the verb of the main clause (“is dead”).

    Chapter 5. Form in Language: Grammatical Concepts 1921

  • Feldscher during twenty years for nothing and knew that a wound was a wound; when a man was dead he was _dead_.

    The Dark Forest Hugh Walpole 1912

  • And in that register it says that he is dead -- _dead_, I tell you -- and what is more, that he was killed by accident.

    Pan Knut Hamsun 1905

  • You can do so _spiritually_, and some of you do it, and the consequence is that you are dead, _dead_, DEAD!

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Psalms Alexander Maclaren 1868

  • I could not bear it, and the demon of jealousy had full possession of me, young as I was, and sometimes, when I saw him preferred to me, I wished him dead, _dead_, just as he is now.

    Bessie's Fortune A Novel Mary Jane Holmes 1866

  • Men do not labour over the ignoble and petty dead -- and why should not the _dead_ be

    Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 5 (of 6) With His Letters and Journals George Gordon Byron Byron 1806

  • *wonders if maus is rrilly dead, or onlee mostly dead*

    Yeah – you were rite Pete - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger? 2009

  • _It is rather for us_ to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that _these dead_ shall not have died in vain; that _this nation_, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Practical Grammar and Composition Thomas Wood

  • I felt I was seeing signs of the financial lull last autumn when the loose money (players who have fun gambling and are happy to lose) and the dead money (players who aren’t any good, and will lose whether they’re happy about it or not) began to dry up.

    Paul Myerscough · Diary: Confessions of a Poker Player · LRB 29 January 2009 Paul Myerscough 2019

  • That’s a phrase we use in discussing the big con: taking dead aim—deeply researching somebody’s habits.”

    Ricky Jay’s Magical Secrets Condé Nast 1993


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  • What e used to do

    were make this doll speak

    wi a dead queer voice -

    bloody great, it were -

    just like it talkin.

    - Peter Reading, 5x5x5x5x5, 1983

    July 1, 2008

  • Weirdnet going to town on this one, but omitting the slang sense of "very, extremely"...

    July 1, 2008

  • I like murdered by surprise attack for political reasons. Weirdnet's been reading tabloids again.

    July 1, 2008

  • "Abbreviation for 'dead on arrival' at the emergency room." *scratches head*

    July 1, 2008

  • That's insane!

    July 1, 2008

  • I think the last definition is what you're looking for, yarb: "completely and without qualification; used informally as intensifiers".

    I think my favourite is "as lifeless as a stone".

    July 1, 2008

  • My stone disagrees. You've really upset him.

    July 1, 2008

  • Hey, I never said it was accurate, just that I was amused.

    *pats stone* There, there.

    July 1, 2008

  • *Relieved* He's agreed to stop sulking at midnight. As long as I take him for double walkies tomorrow.

    July 1, 2008

  • And buy him some pop rocks.

    July 2, 2008

  • In Italian, stones are women (pietra, pl. pietre).

    July 2, 2008

  • "In one of Studs's interviews, the chief of the trauma unit at a Chicago hospital, talking about how a doctor should deal with the family of a young person who has just died traumatically, says that, when he introduces himself, 'they won't even remember my name. Sit them down. Sit down with them. Look into their eyes. If you can, hold on to them and say, 'it's bad news.' And they'll say, 'Is he dead?' Or they just look at you. You have to use the word, you have to say it: 'He's dead.' If you say he's 'expired,' he's 'passed away,' they don't hear that… It's very important to put yourself into their shoes, but you've got to say the word 'dead.' You've got to give them the finality of it.'"

    - Tom Engelhardt,, 9 Dec 2008.

    Reference to Studs is of course to Studs Terkel.

    December 10, 2008

  • The lawyers, Bob, know too much.

    They are chums of the books of old John Marshall.

    They know it all, what a dead hand Wrote,

    A stiff dead hand and its knuckles crumbling,

    The bones of the fingers a thin white ash.

    The lawyers know

    a dead man’s thoughts too well.

    - Carl Sandburg, 'The Lawyers Know Too Much'.

    September 22, 2009

  • His horse was trapt in the earthie stringes of tree rootes, which though their increase was stubbed downe to the grounde, yet were they not vtterly deaded, but hop'd for an after resurrection.

    - Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller, 1594

    April 14, 2010

  • Aid workers were among the dead.

    救援人员也死了。among the dead=were killed

    February 4, 2017