Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state of being dead. Want of life or vital power in a once animated body, as an animal or a plant, or in a part of it.
  • noun The state of being by nature without life; inanimateness.
  • noun A state resembling that of death: as, the deadness of a fainting-fit.
  • noun Want of activity or sensitiveness; lack of force or susceptibility; dullness; coldness; frigidity; indifference: as, deadness of the affections.
  • noun Flatness; want of spirit: as, the deadness of liquors.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The state of being destitute of life, vigor, spirit, activity, etc.; dullness; inertness; languor; coldness; vapidness; indifference

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The state of not being alive. Having the property of lifelessness, as if dead.
  • noun A lack of elasticity.
  • noun A lack of sparkle in a fizzy drink.
  • noun A lack of animation in a person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the physical property of something that has lost its elasticity
  • noun the inanimate property of something that has died
  • noun the quality of being unresponsive; not reacting; as a quality of people, it is marked by a failure to respond quickly or with emotion to people or events

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

dead +‎ -ness

Examples

  • He had a great many other things to say; but this was what we were willing to hear: a reaction against the gross contempt for soldiering which had really given a certain Chinese deadness to the Victorians.

    The Victorian Age in Literature

  • It might be described as a deadness — or an absence of life; something that no face, upon an upright figure, should be.

    Last Posed Photo of Jack London

  • Besides, that blindness, ignorance, darkness, deadness, which is everywhere ascribed to us in the state of nature, doth fully comprise that also whereof we speak.

    Of Communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost

  • Rabbinic characters, committed portions of the Hebrew Old Testament to memory, &c.; and this I did with prayer, often falling on my knees, leaving my books for a little, that I might seek the Lord's blessing, and also, that I might be kept from that spiritual deadness, which is so frequently the result of much study.

    A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealings with George Müller Written by Himself, First Part

  • 'I should have thought the deadness was a mild word for it, if it had been named to me when we brought you in.

    Our Mutual Friend

  • Most people also describe an intense quietness, except for thunder that may accompany the ash fall, giving a "deadness" to the normal sounds of life.

    What's it like during an ash fall?

  • The adamant assertions that the plane that had been found was Oceanic 815, and that there are no survivors, is in fact disconfirmed, unless there is some sense in which being alive on the island is a form of "deadness".

    Confirmed LOST

  • Well, the "deadness" of anything anthropomorphizable is up for grabs of course.

    Recipe

  • That's to say, you look at inhabited faces, faces that have stopped being flesh in that negative sense in with which we began, the untenanted, the empty space where relation doesn't happen, the spark doesn't kindle, where there is a kind of deadness and a kind of isolation which makes us less than human.

    Hildegard Lecture, Thirsk

  • That's to say, you look at inhabited faces, faces that have stopped being flesh in that negative sense in with which we began, the untenanted, the empty space where relation doesn't happen, the spark doesn't kindle, where there is a kind of deadness and a kind of isolation which makes us less than human.

    Hildegard Lecture, Thirsk

Comments

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  • The Century Dictionary definitions for deadness read like lines from Monte Python's Parrot Sketch, so aptly rendered by John Cleese.

    March 11, 2011

  • I like "A state resembling that of death: as, the deadness of a fainting-fit."

    March 11, 2011